Skyview football coach reflects on tremendous season

Kizer gives insight on Saturday’s championship loss

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

TACOMA — The Skyview football coaches got together about an hour after the game Saturday night in a secret location.

(The La Quinta Inn.)

Somewhere in Tacoma.

(Near the dome).

Hidden away in a bunker.

(Maybe it was just a banquet room at the hotel.)

To go over highly classified football plans.

(Or, actually, to celebrate the season, with wives and about 50 of their closest friends.)

Win or lose, the group gets together after every game. That tradition did not end just because Skyview lost in the Class 4A state championship game. Skyline was the better team, taking a 38-7 victory. The Skyview family, while disappointed with the loss, had no problem accepting the second-place trophy — the best finish in program history.

About 90 minutes after the game, Skyview coach Steve Kizer talked about the season and also gave a quarter-by-quarter analysis of the championship.

“When you put so much into it and you finally lose, after four weeks of continuing your season (in the playoffs), I think it hurts a little more,” Kizer said. “After the day is over, though, I think they’ll still take it. We’ll take it.”

First quarter — Skyline finished the period up 3-0, but had 21 plays from scrimmage to Skyview’s six. Max Browne had 91 yards passing and put the Spartans in position to score their first touchdown heading into the second period.

“I thought we played a little tentative,” Kizer said of the first 12 minutes. “I think they played like a team that’s been there before.”

In fact, it was Skyline’s fifth consecutive championship game appearance.

Second quarter (Let’s break this down into the first part of the second quarter first) — Skyline’s Damian Greene scored on a 25-yard run on the first play of the quarter. Skyview responded with two first downs and a nine-play drive that stalled at midfield. Two plays later, Browne connected with Mason Gregory for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Browne bought some time in the pocket before throwing the pass to make it 17-0.

“Offensively, it was frustrating. We came so close on so many plays,” Kizer said.

Defensively, at least at this point, the Storm weren’t coming close to stopping Browne.

“I thought we’d get more heat on him,” Kizer said. “I was surprised they were able to protect him like they did.”

Second quarter (Second part of the second quarter) — Skyview’s offense did nothing on three more possessions, but neither did Skyline’s offense. Mo Morrison (who had several big plays for Skyview) blew up an intended receiver, launching the ball high in the air. Hayden Schuh came down with the interception. On Skyline’s next possession, Riley Bockmier and Willie Lopez had sacks to force a punt.

“We were finally waking up and getting back to our old selves,” Kizer said.

Third quarter — After both teams went three-and-out to start the second half, the Storm got on the board with a beauty of a pass and catch from Kieran McDonagh to Reiley Henderson, making it 17-7. Three plays later, Morrison intercepted Skyline, and the Storm had dreams of a comeback. The Storm drove inside the Skyline 30-yard line and still had the ball as the quarter ended.

“I thought we played our base defense like we had the last four weeks,” Kizer said. “Great pressure from our front four, the linebackers dropped back well, and the corners and safeties played well.”

The score energized the Skyview sideline.

“After the touchdown, I thought if we can get the ball back, we’ll score again and get this thing rolling. It was not that far-fetched we make it 17-14 at that point.”

Instead ...

Fourth quarter — Skyview threw a fourth-down interception early in the period. That’s when the Skyline offensive line got physical. The pass-happy Spartans went on a 12-play drive — 11 running plays — and went up 24-7 with an 11-yard TD run from Jack Valencia. A desperate Skyview team then was intercepted two more times. One led to a Browne touchdown pass and then Valencia returned a pick 73 yards for the final touchdown. Skyview started the quarter down 10, with the ball, then lost by 31 points.

“They used a lot of clock,” Kizer said of that first touchdown. “Not only did they score, but they used up a lot of clock. Not good.”

The game then got out of hand because the Storm kept fighting. One of the interceptions came on a fourth-down play.

“We wanted to try to win the game. We didn’t want any moral victory. We could have punted. But we wanted to score, get an onside kick,” Kizer said.

The game came to a conclusion, leading to one final on-field meeting between coaches and players in an end zone. Kizer reminded the Storm of all the good times, not this one bad game.

“Don’t forget the run we went on, the 11-game win streak, and those four awesome playoff games,” Kizer told his players. “And the memories we created.”

SKYLINE 38, SKYVIEW 7

Skyline 3 14 0 21—38

Skyview 0 0 7 0— 7

First quarter

Skyline — Sean McDonald 24 FG

Second quarter

Skyline — Damian Greene 25 run (McDonald kick)

Skyline — Mason Gregory 35 pass from Max Browne (McDonald kick)

Third quarter

Skyview — Reiley Henderson 32 pass from Kieran McDonagh (Hayden Schuh kick)

Fourth quarter

Skyline — Jack Valencia 11 run (McDonald kick)

Skyline — Trevor Barney 33 pass from Browne (McDonald kick)

Skyline — Valencia 73 interception return (McDonald kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Skyline: Greene 16-77, Valencia 7-42, Browne 9-12, Barney 1-(minus-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.