TACOMA — Just one week earlier, Steve Kizer was discussing stellar defense while wearing a 10,000-watt grin. Saturday, the Skyview football coach was again talking great defense, but his smile was nowhere to be found.
In last week’s 4A state semifinal, the Storm held Lake Stevens to a season-low 14 points. But in a 38-7 loss to Skyline on Saturday, Skyview finally felt what it was like to get shut down.
“A little bit of a role reversal there, huh?” Kizer said. “Looks like they (Skyline) took a page out of our book.”
Over the course of its 11-game winning streak heading into the final, Skyview was averaging 47.8 points per game. Even in its two losses to out-of-state schools to start the season, it still managed to crack double digits.
But something was different this time. On a night where the word “sky” seemed to be omnipresent — the Storm never got its offense off the ground.
“Their coverage was great today,” Skyview quarterback Kieran McDonagh said. “That (Skyline) was a real physical team.”
And it didn’t help that Skyview’s best player was not at his physical peak.
Running back Parker Henry, the 4A Greater St. Helens League Offensive Player of the Year, entered the game with 2,161 rushing yards (8.75 yards per carry) and 31 touchdowns. Saturday, he posted just 34 yards on 15 carries with a long of six.
He’d been battling an ankle injury that was public, and after the game, McDonagh said that Parker had been playing with a sports hernia for the past six weeks. Henry said after the game that, while he didn’t want to make excuses, he was not 100 percent. And that, combined with the game’s result, left him frustrated.
“You keep waiting, and waiting thinking that breakaway is going to come eventually, but that eventually never came,” said a teary-eyed Henry after game. “There’s a lot of disappointment right now to come this far and come up this short.”
McDonagh, who threw for more than 300 yards last week, was limited to 162 yards passing while throwing three interceptions. Granted, two of those picks came in the fourth quarter when the Storm was forced to press, but the stat-line was still somewhat indicative of the difficulty he had finding open receivers.
There was a bright spot in the third quarter, however, when McDonagh hooked up with Reiley Henderson for a 32-yard scoring pass. And that came just before another Storm drive that ended on Skyline’s 27. Still, Saturday, the night belonged to the Spartans on both side of the field.
“We had that third quarter. If we could have played like that the whole game, it could have been different,” Kizer said. “But I’m proud of my guys.”