Turnovers plague Liberty High School Patriots in season opener

September 4, 2012

Coming into the season, Liberty High School head coach Steve Valach stressed the importance of fundamentals for his young Patriots squad, in particular, taking care of the football.

But it was turnovers that put Liberty in the hole early, as the Patriots fell to Eastside Catholic, 41-14, in their season opener.

On the very first play of the game, Liberty fumbled the ball to the Crusaders. Eastside Catholic capitalized on the turnover for a quick score. The Patriots would go on to turn the ball over three more times, with two fumbles and an interception in the game.

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Issaquah School District football preview ’12

September 4, 2012

Issaquah High School roster

Liberty High School roster

Skyline High School roster

Off the Press

March 6, 2012

Time flies when making a lifetime of memories 

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

Mr. Hune was a very insightful teacher. In my ninth-grade yearbook he wrote “to a future newspaper reporter.”

How did he know?

I do not believe Mr. Hune, who taught the newspaper class at my junior high school, realized I would later venture into an enjoyable career that would last 40 years.

Forty years — sometimes it does not seem I just started yesterday. In 1972, when my career started, “The Godfather” was playing at most cinemas. Regular gasoline cost just 36 cents a gallon and postage stamps were only 10 cents. Three Dog Night and Moody Blues were some of the hit bands.

And on a sunny June afternoon in 1972 I graduated from Western Washington University. I had no time for the congratulations from two aunts who came to the graduation ceremony, because I had to go to work. I had recently been hired by the Bellingham Metropolitan, a new, enterprising, weekly newspaper that expected to challenge the established Bellingham Herald for the reading audience. My assignment was to write a story about the graduation. With diploma in hand, I raced to the office to write my first professional story on a Royal typewriter.

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Retiring Sports Editor Bob Taylor shares milestones from a long career on the sidelines

March 6, 2012

Kasen Williams, then-Skyline High School senior, makes his winning triple-jump leap of 45 feet, 5 1/2 inches, during the KingCo track and field championships May 13, 2011, at Juanita High School. File

I kind of know how Bill Gates must have felt when he made his first million. When I joined The Issaquah Press news staff May 22, 2000, I struck it rich, too!

Five days after being hired at The Press I covered my first Issaquah School District state championship team. Actually, it was inevitable that an Issaquah team would win when Issaquah and Skyline met for the 3A state baseball title in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Issaquah won 5-3.

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Off the Press

February 14, 2012

To our Hall of Famer and MVP, Bob Taylor

Hey Bob,

Greg Farrar Press photographer

You are an awesome sports editor, and your decision to bow out on March 9 to pursue your book-writing projects is going to make my transition from black-and-white film to color-digital photography seem like a piece of cake.

Thank you so much for the 12 years of wisdom and experience you have brought to your sports section. We hardly deserved to have you, considering your 19 “and-a-half” previous years covering Eastside sports for the old Journal-American. Any daily newspaper around Puget Sound would have been a better one with you on its staff.

It always amazed me when covering an event with you to see how grown dads and even coaches would approach you to reminisce about the times you covered their own high school athletic careers. You’re like the living encyclopedia of Eastside sports, and whenever it was relevant, any story you wrote could link to the past of a school’s athletic program.

We’ve had more time on the road together than I’ve spent with any other reporter in this business. No trip to Bellingham, Tacoma or Yakima ever seemed too long as we gabbed away the miles. I learned about your growing up in the southwest corner of the state, your awesome love for your wife Pauline and son David, and how you’ve worked with quite a few interesting characters, some sober and some inebriated, over the years.

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Skyline players lead all-conference football honors

December 13, 2011

Max Browne and Peyton Pelluer, key players in Skyline High School’s Class 4A state championship football team, captured KingCo Conference 4A all-Crest Division top honors.

Browne, a 6-foot-5 junior quarterback, was selected as the division’s offensive player of the year. During the regular season, he led KingCo in passing with 2,701 yards and he tossed 29 touchdown passes.

“Browne was so impressive this season. He has great pocket presence. He is a great leader,” Issaquah High coach Chris Bennett said.

Pelluer, a 6-1, 210-pound junior linebacker who led the league in tackles, was selected as the division’s defensive player of the year.

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Skyline quarterback Max Browne is Gatorade Washington Player of the Year

December 6, 2011

Max Browne (left), Skyline High School junior quarterback, and senior running back Connor Gilchrist share a fist bump followed by a hug, as teammates lift the state 4A championship football trophy Dec. 3 at the Tacoma Dome. By Greg Farrar

Skyline High School quarterback Max Browne, who led the Spartans to the Class 4A state football title Dec. 3, has been named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year.

Browne is the third Gatorade Washington Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Skyline High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Browne as Washington’s best high school football player. Browne now is a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior quarterback directed the Spartans to an 11-3 record. Skyline defeated Skyview, of Vancouver, 38-7, in the state championship game.

Prior to the game, Browne had passed for 3,813 yards and 43 touchdowns, and had completed 273-of-389 attempts with just five interceptions. A 2010 First Team All-State selection, he threw for more than 200 yards in 13 games in 2011.

Browne has maintained a 3.55 grade point average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church youth group, and as a football and basketball camp counselor and referee.

“Max Browne is incredibly poised and efficient, he makes great decisions and is a winner,” Liberty High School coach Steve Valach said.

A challenge to change the status quo

December 6, 2011

Hall Monitor Dawson Solly Liberty High School

Fall sports have just ended and the start to a new season has begun for winter high school sports such as basketball, gymnastics and wrestling.

For teams that moved into the playoffs and continued to the state championships, like the Skyline High School football team, it is an experience of a lifetime, but one thing missing from the playoffs is fan support. I think we need fan support from the district student body as a whole.

I know our district high schools have been rivals in the past and compete against each other, but times have changed as Skyline and Issaquah left 3A and moved on to 4A competition; the fan support should change, too. Instead of Liberty seeing Issaquah and Skyline as a rival in the playoffs we need to realize we are all part of the same district and that we all have an effect on our reputation as a whole.

Many may think that if this were to happen there would be a lot of conflict between schools, but think of how much our reputation as a district and community would improve. Districts across the state would think of our district as a trendsetter and a start to a new legacy.

Being an athlete at Liberty, I would see it as a positive, getting more support and gaining confidence because of it. Other athletes at Liberty agree — the more fans the better — particularly in sports such as wrestling, swimming/dive, gymnastics, tennis, and track and field, where individuals are on “the stage” alone.

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Skyline quarterback named Gatorade state player of the year

December 2, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 2, 2011

Skyline High School quarterback Max Browne, who hopes to lead the Spartans to the 4A state football title Saturday, has been named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year.

Browne is the third Gatorade Washington Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Skyline High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Browne as Washington’s best high school football player. Browne now is a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award which will be announced later this month.

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Humble and respected, Liberty’s Josh Gordon is a quiet success

November 29, 2011

Liberty High School senior Josh Gordon, a leading receiver for the Patriots in 3A KingCo football, is being recruited by the University of Washington and Brigham Young University. Contributed

Josh Gordon, a standout athlete in track and football, Eagle Scout, honor student and brother, identified himself as a competitor at a young age.

Gordon and his father were attending a University of Washington football game and Josh pointed to the field.

“Someday, I’m going to make a touchdown there,” Josh told his father.

Now 17 and attending his final year at Liberty High School, Gordon is working hard to make good on that promise. He’s the leading receiver for KingCo in 3A football, and if football doesn’t work out, Gordon will look to track and field. As a junior, he won first place at state in the long jump and 1,600 relay, adding to the second-place medal he earned as a sophomore.

One would think his success might change his personality, or make him susceptible to the culture of boastful talking.

Not Gordon.

“Josh is the most humble kid you will meet,” said Mike Smith, the boys coach for track and field at Liberty. “He wants to be on the relay, not just individual sports, and if someone needs help, he’s the first one to jump in, taking time out of his own practice.”

It’s a trait that has won him the respect and admiration of his teammates on both fields of play, said Steve Valach, Liberty football coach.

“When we were down 21 and four in with Juanita, we had seconds on the clock. Josh caught the ball and ran it back for the game-winning touchdown,” Valach said

No jumping up and down. No grandstanding.

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