TACOMA — The Spartans still own these skies.
Quarterback Max Browne headlined the passing game, Skyline showcased a defense, and a long tradition of winning on the biggest stage led the Spartans past Skyview in the Class 4A state championship game Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.
Browne threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-7 victory, Skyline’s sixth state championship since 2000.
The Spartans from Sammamish proved they can run the ball with two rushing touchdowns. They also killed more than six minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter, pushing a 10-point lead to 17.
Even in defeat, the Storm have to feel good about themselves after becoming just the third Vancouver team to play in the state championship game in the 39-year history of the tournament.
“Our senior class, we gave every ounce of effort for this program,” Skyview running back Parker Henry said. “We fully dedicated ourselves. I’ll never forget this season for the rest of my life.”
“It was the best experience of my life,” said Reiley Henderson, who scored Skyview’s lone touchdown, a 32-yard reception from quarterback Kieran McDonagh. “I love everybody on this team. And getting to come to the Tacoma Dome? Can’t ask for anything better than that.”
While the final score turned into a rout, the Storm got some momentum and back in the game with a strong third quarter.
Skyview’s defense forced a three-and-out from Skyline, then the Storm went 54 yards on an eight-play drive, capped with a perfect pass from McDonagh to Henderson to make it 17-7.
Skyview’s Mo Morrison then intercepted a Skyline pass, giving the Storm more hope.
“We had a heckuva third quarter, huh?” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “We’ll always have the third quarter.”
The Storm drove deep into Skyline territory but threw a fourth-down interception.
From there, it was all Skyline.
“Once we scored, it felt like momentum had swung our way,” Henderson said. “We got the stop on defense. But on offense, we couldn’t execute, couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.”
Skyline’s Jack Valencia scored on an 11-yard run to cap that long drive to make it 24-7.
A desperate Skyview offense threw two more interceptions, leading to two more Skyline touchdowns, including a 73-yard return for Valencia.
Browne completed 15 of 22 pass for his 222 yards. Trevor Barney caught five passes for 83 yards and a score. Damian Greene rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown.
McDonagh completed 18 of 30 passes for 150 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions — two in the final four minutes.
Henderson caught eight passes for 75 yards and will always be able to say he scored Skyview’s first touchdown in a state championship game.
Henry, battling an ankle injury to go with the groin injury he has had for weeks, was held to 31 yards on 14 carries against a tough Skyline defense.
“What a great run,” Kizer said of his Storm. “We won 11 in a row. We played 14 weeks. Yes!”
Skyline scored on its first three possessions, a field goal and two touchdowns.
The Skyview defense gave up 47 yards on the first two plays of the game, then settled down for a few plays to force a Sean McDonald 24-yard field goal.
Skyview’s offense did very little with the ball on its next possession, and the Spartans capitalized by going 79 yards on 11 plays. Greene’s 25-yard touchdown run made it 10-0.
The Storm would pick up a couple first downs on its next drive, but then gave up the ball on downs around midfield.
Two plays later, Browne bought some time in the pocket then found Mason Gregory for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 7:53 left in the half.
Neither team came close to scoring the rest of the half. Morrison had a monster hit on a Skyline receiver, forcing the ball high into the air. Hayden Schuh came down with the ball for the Skyview interception.
Skyview’s Riley Bockmier and Willie Lopez had sacks to end Skyline’s final drive in the first half.
Skyview got that glimmer of hope in the third quarter, but Skyline and its tradition of winning got all the momentum back to close out the game.
“I had the best group of guys around,” McDonagh said. “Skyline just got the best of us tonight.”
SKYLINE 38, SKYVIEW 7
Skyline 3 14 0 21—38
Skyview 0 0 7 0—7
Skyline — Sean McDonald 24 FG
Skyline — Damian Greene 25 run (McDonald kick)
Skyline — Mason Gregory 35 pass from Max Browne (McDonald kick)
Skyview — Reiley Henderson 31 pass from Kieran McDonagh (Hayden Schuh kick)
Skyline — Jack Valencia 11 run (McDonald kick)
Skyline — Trevor Barney 34 pass from Browne (McDonald kick)
Skyline — Valencia 73 interception return (McDonald kick)
RUSHING — Skyline: Greene 16-77, Valencia 7-42, Browne 9-12, Barney 1-(-1). Skyview: McDonagh 13-38, Parker Henry 14-31, Henderson 1-(-3).
PASSING — Skyline: Browne 15-22-2-222. Skyview: McDonagh 18-30-3-150.
RECEIVING — Skyline: Barney 5-83, Gregory 2-48, Taggart Krueger 3-33, Nic Sblendorio 2-32, Andrew Giese 2-21, Greene 1-5. Skyview: Henderson 8-75, Spencer Miles 2-17, Mo Morrison 2-15, Schuh 1-15, Henry 2-14, Forrest Russell 1-8, Kyle Ponciano 1-4, Jacob Dennis 1-2.