Football preview: Skyview seniors carry the weight

Commitment to offseason program key for Storm

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



That “Nothing But League Champs” motto keeps working for the Skyview football team.

photoQuarterback Kieran McDonagh said that even though Fridays were optional for offseason weight training, players showed up regularly.

(/The Columbian)

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Skyview Storm

Coach: Steve Kizer

2010: 8-3, 4-0 4A GSHL.

Key players: Kieran McDonagh, sr., qb-lb; Parker Henry, sr., rb-lb; Dylan Bratlie, sr., ol-dl; Mo Morrison sr., wr-db; David Garlington, sr., wr-db; Matt Cruz sr., ol-dl; Jonah Koreski, sr., ol-dl; Reiley Henderson, jr., wr-db; Forrest Russell, jr., wr; Zach Wallace, jr., ol/dl; Jabari Marshall, jr., rb-lb; Xavier Norman, jr., lb.

Season outlook: The Storm want more than just one more league title. This team believes it has the talent to take a run to the Tacoma Dome for the state championship.

With returning Division I recruit at QB, a running back who has been dominant the past two years, and amazing team speed, the Storm are thinking real big.


Sept. 2 Sherwood

Sept. 10 at Coeur d’Alene

Sept. 16 at Heritage

Sept. 23 Camas

Sept. 30 at Lincoln

Oct. 7 Battle Ground

Oct. 14 at Evergreen

Oct. 21 at Columbia River

Oct. 28 Union

Home games played

at Kiggins Bowl

The program picked up its first 4A Greater St. Helens League title in 2006. Then another in 2008, 2009, and again in 2010.

The motto would not work, however, if the Storm did not work.

All that prior success has led to a deeper appreciation for just how the program turned into a winner.

The strength of the 2011 squad is not one, two or three players. It is the commitment made from just about every player to make the most of the off-season program.

More than 90 percent of the seniors, for example, reached or exceeded attendance goals for scheduled workouts this summer.

The seniors today were sophomores when Skyview reached the Class 4A state semifinals. They were seventh-graders when the Storm won that first league title. They grew up watching winners prepare, learning to prepare themselves.

“That’s how you keep a program running, to develop good habits when you’re younger,” senior running back Parker Henry said.

He has been training for years, but he and the Storm did notice an even stronger emphasis this offseason.

“Senior year, you’re supposed to step up,” Henry said. “We’ve done that. If people did not have rides, the seniors would pick them up.”

Get everybody in the weight room. Get everyone running. Get everyone on board.

“I don’t remember a team with this many guys in the weight room,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “Not only that, but quality time in the weight room.”

Because of those numbers, Kizer could honestly say this is the hardest working group he has had in an offseason.

“It wasn’t that hard,” quarterback Kieran McDonagh said of getting his teammates to show in the summer. “A lot of people were really committed this year. We’re all pretty excited. We want to do big things as a program. We have more talent than last year. We realize we can go farther.”

The Storm reached the first round of the state playoffs in 2010.

“We were in there every day, Monday through Friday,” McDonagh said. “Friday is optional, but we had guys in there every Friday.”

Defensive back Mo Morrison, another senior leader, said there are two benefits to the workouts.

“When you get everybody in the weight room, it gets them stronger and it builds team unity,” he said.

Morrison said he hopes the younger players will keep the tradition going in the future. He recalls his sophomore year, the loss in the semifinals.

“I knew how that felt,” he said. “I didn’t want to lose again, so I went to work as hard as I could.”

As quarterback, McDonagh took the conservative route when discussing the team’s long-term goals. A league championship, of course, but he would not elaborate beyond Week 9.

Henry and Morrison had no problem going a little deeper.

“Get a ring on the finger,” Morrison said.

“Our goals are to win league and to win state,” Henry said.

Those goals began a long, long time before the first week of practice.