Skyview preview: Berni now THE QB at Skyview

Berni, Storm take aim on league and perhaps more

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

The starting quarterback.

Three words that can describe only one player on a football team.

Jordan Berni has been a starting quarterback for Skyview, but he has not been THE starting quarterback.

Until now.

Skyview Storm

Coach: Steve Kizer.

2011 record : 11-3, 4-0 4A GSHL, second in state

Key players: Jordan Berni, sr., qb; Willie Lopez, sr., ol/dl; Zach Wallace, sr., ol/dl; Jabari Marshall, sr., rb/lb; Xavier Norman, sr., lb; Forrest Russell, sr., wr/db; Spencer Miles, sr., wr/db; Anthony Chamberlain, sr., te/dl; Willie Eteaki, jr., ol/dl; Grant Vargo, sr., ol/dl; Matt Matteo, jr., ol; Rayvon Wess, sr., te/dl; Rayshawn Wess, sr., te/dl; Daniel Thompson, sr., wr/db; Gianni Carbone, jr., rb/lb; Kalvin Johnson, sr., rb.

Season outlook: The Storm made it to the state championship game last year. The Storm won their fourth consecutive league title last year. Everyone associated with the program expects to win. There is no rebuilding. Just a new team, with a similar vision. “We want to win five league championships in a row. That’s a heckuva challenge with this team,” coach Steve Kizer said.

2012 SCHEDULE

Aug. 30 at C. Catholic

Sept. 7 Columbia River

Sept. 14 Lakes

Sept. 21 at Enumclaw

Sept. 28 at Camas*

Oct. 5 Heritage*

Oct. 12 Evergreen*

Oct. 19 at B. Ground*

Oct. 26 Union*

  • — 4A GSHL game

Home games played at Kiggins Bowl

Coming Sunday: Camas

Already, he understands there is a big difference as he prepares to lead the Storm into the 2012 high school season.

"There is always pressure if you are the quarterback," said Berni, a senior. "I love it, honestly. When the game is on the line, people are looking at you. That's the kind of position I want to be in."

Berni got one start last year and played in a couple of other games for the Storm, but he was not THE starting quarterback. Kieran McDonagh, now at Portland State, led Skyview to the Class 4A state championship game.

But in just those few snaps behind center, Berni showed there was plenty of promise.

This summer, he made a bit of a name for himself in camps and with 7-on-7 passing drills, even catching some buzz on the internet for one particular performance in Seattle.

Fun stuff, of course, but Berni recognizes that he will only be truly recognized as a top-notch high school quarterback if he can get it done in the fall.

While he has individual goals he wants to achieve — 70 percent completion rate, five or fewer interceptions — getting it done at Skyview means winning. The Storm have won four consecutive Class 4A Greater St. Helens League titles.

"If we don't win it this year, that would be really upsetting to us," Berni said of the initial goal of 2012.

The Storm also made it to the state championship game for the first time in the program's history last season, pushing expectations to off-the-charts high.

"There is a saying here, 'Do it better than we ever have before.' "

That leaves only one thing left to accomplish.

"After we win league, we want to get back to the dome and win state," Berni said.

Skyview coach Steve Kizer appreciates the optimistic point of view of his quarterback. Kizer also wants all that to happen, but for now, he is just trying to get his team ready for September's games -- then worry about league and playoffs later.

He knows he has his man for the job at quarterback.

"He did a good job last year (when he played). I was always impressed with what he did. And he's also one of the most improved guys in the offseason," Kizer said. "He wore out our weight room. He did everything we asked of him, and he's respected by his teammates."

That also was by design, Berni said.

"I just tried to be the hardest worker," Berni said. "All my teammates trust me."

Berni had to wait behind the talented McDonagh and will only get this season as THE starter at Skyview. That could have been frustrating for some, but Berni said he would not have changed a thing.

"With our coaching staff, I learned so much," he said. "Even though I wasn't the starter, I always felt prepared."

Berni also credits his time with John Charles and Air One Quarterback Academy for helping him earn his position. Charles is a former Portland State quarterback who runs a Vancouver-based quarterback skills academy for players ages 9 to 18.

With knowledge and confidence, Berni and Skyview teammates Spencer Miles, Forrest Russell, Daniel Thompson, and Jacob Dennis were part of a 7-on-7 team that won the prestigious Battle in Seattle. No coaches, no playbook. Just athletes vs. athletes, and the Storm prevailed.

They all earned a positive write-up from Dirk Knudsen on the Northwest Prep Report, too.

"That one put my name out there," Berni said.

Now Berni is in command of keeping his name — and his team — in the headlines.