HILLSBOR0, Ore. — Let’s start with the positive for the Skyview football team.
The Storm did not get shut out Thursday night in their season opener.
They have plenty of room for improvement.
Oh, and they are pretty good at rebounding from opening losses to become champions.
Skyview, the four-time defending Class 4A Greater St. Helens League champion, has not won its first game of the season in any of those title years.
“We can’t go anywhere but up,” Skyview quarterback Jordan Berni said after Central Catholic of Portland stopped the Storm 27-9 at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Rams scored the first 27 points before the Storm broke through in the fourth quarter.
“We just have to finish plays. Finish blocks. Finish catches. Make better throws on my part,” Berni said.
Skyview coach Steve Kizer, while disappointed with the result, understands it is a long season.
Playing a tough non-league schedule has been good to his teams in the past. Central Catholic reached the Oregon Class 6A semifinals last season.
“You make your biggest gain between your first and second games,” Kizer said. “We have a lot to gain. We’re going to make corrections and become a better team.”
It was not as if the Storm were overmatched early in Thursday’s game.
Skyview’s defense, in fact, held Central’s offense to 29 yards on its first four possessions.
Unfortunately for the Storm, they trailed 10-0 by that point.
Central took advantage of two special teams miscues to get the jump on Skyview.
The Rams were held to a field goal after a long punt return started a drive on Skyview’s 29-yard line.
Skyview’s ensuing possession stalled, forcing a punt. But a bad snap and a chase for the ball led to Central’s Chase Cole falling on the ball in the end zone for a 10-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first quarter.
The Rams did dominate the second quarter with more than 200 yards of offense.
Dallin Leavitt had a 2-yard touchdown with 3:14 left in the half to make it 17-0, and Mitch Seeley connected on his second field goal of the game, this one from 21 yards out, on the last play of the second quarter.
The Rams put away the game three plays into the second half when quarterback Aidan Wilder found Lawrence Wilson for a 63-yard touchdown pass.
“They seem to be more in mid-season tempo than we are, in every aspect of the game,” Kizer said.
Wilder finished 8 of 17 for 179 yards and his touchdown pass. He also rushed for a team-high 58 yards.
Skyview got on the board midway through the fourth quarter when a bad snap for Central led to the quarterback kicking the ball out of the end zone for a safety.
The Storm did finish strong with an eight-play, 61-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes. Jabari Marshall punched it in from three yards to make it 27-9.
Berni, who had one start as a junior on Skyview’s Class 4A state runner-up squad, is the No. 1 guy this year.
“The game’s a lot faster,” Berni acknowledged after going 17 of 36 for 177 yards with one interception. “I wasn’t nervous. I prepared myself well. We just didn’t execute. We had plays we wanted to run, but we just didn’t execute.”
He was off on some balls and he was the victim of several dropped passes. All things that can be corrected, he said.
Berni also led the Storm in rushing with 75 yards on 15 carries. Forrest Russell caught six passes for 49 yards as the top target. Kalvin Johnson had a 58-yard reception, the biggest play of the game for the Storm.
“We got better as the game went on,” Kizer said. “We got to their level as the game went on.”
Even with the loss, the season has started. That is reason enough to celebrate, even if just for a moment.
“It felt good to be out there,” Berni said. “It felt great, actually. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 27, SKYVIEW 9
Skyview 0 0 0 9—9
C. Catholic 10 10 7 0—27
CC — Mitch Seeley 41 FG
CC — Chase Cole recovers fumble in end zone (Seeley kick)
CC — Dallin Leavitt 2 run (Seeley kick)
CC — Seeley 21 FG
CC — Lawrence Wilson 63 pass from Aidan Wilder (Seeley kick)
Sky — Fumbled snap kicked out of end zone
Sky — Jabari Marshall 3 run (Carter Johnson kick)
RUSHING — Skyview: Jordan Berni 15-75, Marshall 11-35, Forrest Russell 4-22, Kalvin Johnson 5-21, Daniel Thompson 1-4, Team 1-(-44); Central Catholic: Wilder 8-58, Cole 2-39, Leavitt 9-31, Xavier Griggs 4-26, Blake Gratten 2-24, Ryan Nall 4-21, Beau Duronslet 2-13, Cameron Scarlett 3-13, Matt Vanoudenhaegen 2-11, Quentin Lake 1-6, Nathan Schhaffer 3-6, Holden Oglesbee 1-(-1). Team 1-(-19).
PASSING — Skyview: Berni 17-36-1-177; Central Catholic: Wilder 8-17-0-179, Lake 1-4-0-13.
RECEIVING — Skyview: Johnson 1-58, Russell 6-49, Antonio Sparrow 4-31, Thompson 3-28, Jacob Dennis 3-11; Central Catholic: Wilson 4-115, Zach Davis 2-30, Oglesbee 1-27, Duronslet 1-20, Leavitt 1-0.