The Skyview Storm sent the Union Titans packing Friday night.
Kyle Ponciano scored a back-breaking touchdown on a fourth-down play, the Skyview defense was lights out in the second half, and the Storm took second place in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League with a 35-17 victory at Kiggins Bowl.
The Storm will stay at home to open the Class 4A postseason, while Union will travel in Week 10.
The Storm scored the final 14 points of what was a close contest, with the defense holding Union to 36 yards in the second half.
Gianni Carbone, one of the standouts on defense for the Storm, had a tackle-for-loss, a sack, and an interception. Defensive linemen Willie Lopez and Rayshawn Wess also had sacks for the Storm.
“We have the best coaching staff in the world,” said Carbone, a linebacker. “We set a high tempo and we set the tone in the first quarter.”
Then the Skyview defense dominated in the second half.
Still, Union was within four points after a Trent Cowan field goal made it 21-17 late in the third quarter.
The Storm never allowed the Titans to have any chance at taking the lead.
Ponciano gave the Storm a 28-17 lead on Skyview’s ensuing possession, breaking free on a fourth-and-3 play for a 31-yard touchdown.
“I was honestly just trying to get past the line of scrimmage,” Ponciano said. “A hole opened up like the Red Sea. I just followed (running back) Jabari Marshall and the o-line. It was all them.”
Skyview’s Jacob Dennis intercepted a pass on Union’s next play, setting up another score. Marshall overpowered Union defenders for a 12-yard run for a 35-17 lead.
“A lot of momentum. That’s what we’ll take away from this game, just knowing how good we can be,” Dennis said. “We have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs.”
Carbone and Wess each had sacks on Union’s next possession. Later in the quarter, Carbone intercepted a pass to start the Skyview celebration.
Skyview got this win for its head coach, Steve Kizer, who was serving a one-game suspension. Acting head coach Julian Williams said a clerical error led to the inadvertent use of an ineligible player in a game earlier this season.
“This feels great, with the support that I had from the kids and the rest of the staff,” Williams said. “We tried to win this for (Kizer) and for us.”
There was little defense played in the opening minutes of the game. Skyview scored on its opening possession of the game for a 7-0 lead on a 3-yard run from Ponciano. Union responded with a five-play, 69-yard drive. Leon Siofele scored on a 16-yard run to tie the game.
The Storm would score the next two touchdowns in the second quarter — quarterback Jordan Berni had a 2-yard keeper, and Marshall scored from a yard out. The Titans got within a touchdown by halftime on a 13-yard touchdown run from Cowan out of the Wildcat formation.
Union’s Kevin Grimsted got a sack, forced fumble, and a recovery on the same play in the third quarter, setting up Union’s only points of the half. The Titans did go 37 yards on the drive, but it stalled. Cowan nailed the 33-yard field goal to make it a four-point game.
From there, though, Skyview’s defense held the Union offense to negative-24 yards and also forced two turnovers.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” Carbone said. “It was our front linemen. They pushed through the gaps and went after the quarterback.”
With that, the Storm get to stay home next week.
SKYVIEW 35, UNION 17
Union 7 7 3 0–17
Skyview 7 14 0 14–35
Sky – Kyle Ponciano 3 run (Carter Johnson kick)
U – Leon Siofele 16 run (Mitch Wheelon kick)
Sky – Jordan Berni 2 run (Johnson kick)
Sky – Jabari Marshall 1 run (Johnson kick)
U – Trent Cowan 9 run (Wheelon kick)
U – Cowan 33 FG
Sky – Ponciano 31 run (Johnson kick)
Sky – Marshall 12 run (Johnson kick)
RUSHING: Union: Siofele 12-73, James Munson 5-15, Cowan 6-70, Nolan Henry 9-1, Taala Letioa 1-4. Treve’ Ensley 1-(minus-2). Skyview: Marshall 13-57, Berni 10-33, Ponciano 4-40, Kalvin Johnson 16-54, Forrest Russell 1-1, Xavier Norman 2-33.
PASSING: Union: Henry 4-13-2-43. Skyview: Berni 8-12-0-131.
RECEIVING: Union: Cowan 2-36, Treve’ Ensley 2-7. Skyview: Spencer Miles 3-66, Jacob Dennis 2-45, Antonio Sparrow 1-6, Anthony Chamberlain 1-5, Daniel Thompson 1-9.