Just about everything about this football game was close.
Except for the mistakes.
The Skyview Storm took advantage Friday night at Kiggins Bowl and won their fourth consecutive Class 4A Greater St. Helens League championship.
Parker Henry was an unstoppable force, scoring four touchdowns to lead the Storm to a 44-27 victory over the Titans in the regular-season finale for the league title.
“We won league every year I’ve been here. You can’t ask for much more than that,” said Henry, who had 180 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns and caught a 67-yard touchdown pass. “I love this team. I love every single guy on this team. And my linemen, I love them a little more than anyone else. This is an awesome feeling.”
His linemen feel the same way about Henry.
“We love him. He makes every block we make twice as good, because he never goes down on first contact,” said lineman Jonah Koreski. “This is the hardest runner I’ve ever seen.”
The Skyview defense was opportunistic, as well, forcing two fumbles with sacks, and recovering a muffed punt. Union also snapped a ball over the punter’s head for a safety.
The Storm, meanwhile, took care of the ball, with no turnovers on a wet field, a rainy night.
Skyview (7-2, 4-0 GSHL) will host Issaquah in the state play-in game next Friday or Saturday.
Union (7-2, 3-1) will host Tahoma, likely on Saturday.
“To come out here and our offense was able to play like this against a really, really good team like that,” Henry said. “To be able to click on all cylinders was great. I’m just ecstatic right now.”
Skyview totalled 339 yards, 10 fewer than Union. But while the Titans could move the ball, they were not able to secure it all night.
Skyview linebacker Jabari Marshall’s sack and forced fumble with six minutes left in the game pretty much sealed the victory. Union, which had trailed by 16 early in the fourth, had cut it to 10 points and had the ball with a chance to make it a one-possession game.
“As soon as I saw (the quarterback) boot out, I said I gotta go get that ball,” Marshall said.
Zack Wallace was credited with the recovery, and the Storm would add a touchdown on a Kieran McDonagh keeper to make it 44-27.
The Skyview defense also had a sack/strip/recovery toward the end of the first half when Union was driving.
“The up-front guys were doing their jobs, and we went after it,” Marshall said.
Union had cut a 16-point deficit to two points with a touchdown to open the third quarter. Brandon Brody-Heim, who led Union with 104 yards on 22 carries, scored his third TD of the game on a 2-yarder to make it 23-21.
But back came the Storm. McDonagh got the first of his two scores to push the lead to nine.
After the Skyview defense held, the Storm called the perfect play against a Union blitz: Screen pass from McDonagh to Henry, who broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown and a 37-21 advantage with 11:40 to go in the game.
Union’s Gabe Rego capped a quick drive to make it 37-27 with 9:20 to go, but the Skyview defense was up to the challenge the rest of the night.
Henry and the Skyview offense set the tone from the beginning, going 72 yards on eight plays on the first drive of the game. Henry had five carries for 66 yards and scored on a 6-yard run.
“That’s the best way you can ever start out a game,” Henry said.
He was just getting started.
Brody-Heim tied the game with an 8-yard TD run, and after Skyview’s offense stalled, the special teams recovered a muffed punt. Henry made the Titans pay with a 2-yard TD run.
Union’s next possession was a three-and-out, and the snap went over the punter’s head, leading to a safety.
Henry scored on the ensuing drive, a 6-yard run, for a 23-7 advantage.
Brody-Heim made it 23-14 with a 19-yard run midway through the second quarter.
The Titans got the ball back but the Storm forced another turnover — the story of the game.
Brody-Heim, in fact, predicted earlier in the week that the game would be decided by turnovers.
“He was a prophet,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “That’s exactly what happened. We took care of the ball.”“We’re going to look and learn from our mistakes in this one,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “When the postseason starts, everyone is zero-and-zero. And we have not come close to playing our best game.”
The final moments of the game turned into a celebration for the Storm.
“If you had told me five years ago that we were going to win four in a row, I’d have thought you were crazy,” Kizer said. “I’m happy for my staff, our players, and our school.”
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Koreski said. “When I come back for my high school reunion, I’m going to look up (at the sign) for that four years in a row.”
SKYVIEW 44, UNION 27
Union 7 7 7 6—27
Skyview 14 9 7 14—44
Sky — Parker Henry 6 run (Hayden Schuh kick)
U — Brandon Brody-Heim 8 run (Trent Cowan kick)
Sky — Henry w run (Schuh kick)
Sky — Safety, Bad snap, Union punter kicks loose ball out of end zone
Sky — Henry 6 run (Schuh kick)
U — Brody-Heim 19 run (Cowan kick)
U — Brody-Heim 2 run (Cowan kick)
Sky — Kieran McDonagh 1 run (Schuh kick)
Sky — Henry 67 pass from McDonagh (Schuh kick)
U — Gabe Rego 2 run (run failed)
Sky — McDonagh 5 run (Schuch kick)
Rushing — Union — Brody-Heim 22-104, Tanner Nelson 9-72, Kaben Humphrey-Butler 10-21, Rego 3-19, A.J. Anderson 1-12, Cowan 1-5, Team 1-(minus 33). Skyview: Henry 23-180, McDonagh 10-25, Forrest Russell 1-(minus 10), Team 4-(minus 8).
Passing — Union — Humphrey-Butler 9-15-0-149. Nelson 0-1-0-0. Skyview — McDonagh 8-15-0-152.
Receiving — Union — Anderson 3-83, Cowan 1-26, Nelson 1-21, Rego 2-16, Brody-Heim 2-3. Skyview — Henry 1-67, Russell 3-48, Spencer Miles 2-26, Mo Morrison 2-11.