Skyline charges to semifinals with 54-21 win over Roosevelt

November 20, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Skyline’s defensive line holds Roosevelt’s Taku Shiozaki to a 2-yard gain in the third quarter Nov. 16. By Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times

The last time the Skyline football team played under the Space Needle at Memorial Stadium, it had already wrapped up the win by the end of the second quarter, beating Roosevelt 43-7 at the half. Eight weeks later, that wasn’t the case.

When the halftime buzzer sounded Nov. 16, the state quarterfinal game was tied 14-14.

This was the first time in 15 years that the Roosevelt Roughriders had played in the postseason, and after making it to the final eight, they were not going quietly into the night.

“We knew Roosevelt was riding high, had the whole city of Seattle behind them…it was a good story, give them credit; give their coaches and players credit,” said Skyline quarterback Max Browne. “But at the end of the day we kind of got down to our basics and really executed what we did, and it was a good night for us.”

Roosevelt may have come out swinging, but Skyline answered back, eventually taking the game at 54-21. Browne completed 17 of 25 pass attempts, throwing 310 yards for four of Skyline’s eight touchdowns. Three of those end zone throws were caught by senior wide recover Trevor Barney.

The other came in the third quarter when Browne hit Nic Sblendorio on the Spartans’ 40-yard line. The senior wide receiver took off running and was away to complete a 73-yard touchdown, giving Skyline the lead at 27-21.

The Spartan defense kept a firm grip on the lead by stifling Roosevelt’s next possession, forcing the Roughriders to punt.

“Our linebackers really started to key it in the second half and really just started to read their cues and not over pursue things,” said Skyline coach Mat Taylor. “It’s everything you want your kids to be able to do in handling adversity. In all games, there is going to be adversity and for us it was the first half. My hat’s off to Roosevelt. They did a fantastic job and we just kept telling the kids ‘we just got to get a couple stops in.’”

Skyline also had a strong running game with Cedric Cooper breaking through the middle of the pack several times and totaling 192 yards on 19 carries. The senior scored his first of three touchdowns in the second quarter when he finished an 18-yard run down the right side of the field with a dive into the end zone. Then in the fourth quarter, Cooper made two consecutive touchdowns by blowing through middle of Roosevelt’s defensive line.

“He is such a humble and great kid,” said Taylor. “Anybody who has asked me, I said, ‘you know, this guy only has 500 yards, but he is as good as any back we have ever had.’”

Cooper recently transferred from Foster High School in Tukwila. It is his first year playing for the Spartans and his first time playing in a state quarterfinal game.

“It’s just a crazy change for me…These Skyline (players) really know how to win games and prepare and man, I love it out here. The community, all the players and the coaches, they are like my brothers already,” said Cooper. “We won as a team. It’s just a great feeling to go to that dome.”

The 4A state tournament is now down to the final four. Skyline is set to take on Camas in the 1 p.m. Nov. 24 semifinal game at the Tacoma Dome.

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