Football Preview: At Skyview, Matteo is center of the Storm

Lineman takes over leadership role

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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photoSkyview High School football coach Steve Kizer during practice Tuesday in Vancouver.

(/The Columbian)

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Class 4A previews

Aug. 24: Camas

Aug. 25: Union

Aug. 26: Evergreen

Aug. 27: Heritage

Aug. 28: Battle Ground

TODAY: Skyview

Friday: Class 3A kickoff

photoMatt Matteo, Skyview senior lineman

To get to Friday Night Lights, the Skyview Storm needed a little Midnight Madness.

It was a week before the official first day of practice. No football drills allowed, of course, but a few hours were scheduled for strength and conditioning, in the middle of the night, a workout for the ages.

Skyview senior center Matt Matteo was one of the leaders that night, making sure everyone was there.

"Anybody who couldn't drive there, the seniors would pick them up," Matteo said.

The plan called for a number of stations throughout the weight room and outside the doors. It was move, move, move, hardly any breaks at all.

It started at midnight, and finished around 2:30 a.m.

"The goal was to make us uncomfortable, so we can deal with situations like that in a game," Matteo said. "It was probably the hardest workout I've ever been through. Really challenging, but fun.

"The next day, I was pretty sore. I felt like crap, but good at the same time because you know you accomplished something that brought everyone together."

Together. That's the Skyview Storm football team this season.

They will need to rely on each other, all of their teammates, to realize their dreams.

The Storm have won four of the past five Class 4A Greater St. Helens League titles. They went to the state championship game in 2011.

This year, after finishing second in the 4A GSHL to Camas last season, the Storm are starting over in a lot of positions.

Which is why they need a guy like Matteo, at 6-2, 265 pounds, to lead them, coach Steve Kizer said.

"If your big star is your center, we might be a team without any superstars," Kizer said. "We're more of a definition of team than we've ever been. It's going to take the group."

Any group needs a leader, and Matteo is one of them for the Storm. He said the players understand there are those out there who believe this could be a down year for Skyview.

More importantly to the Storm, though, none of the players is going into the season thinking like that.

"We have to go out there and prove to people, 'We're Skyview. We're a program that won't ever go away,'" Matteo said. "Our coaching staff will make us better."

So will experience on the line. Matteo was a sophomore when the Storm played 14 games and made it to the finals.

"It was an honor to play against those guys," he said, referring to his scout team days against the starters.

That season made him better, prepared him for his senior year.

"I've always been a linemen, since the third grade. I love it," Matteo said. "My best friends are linemen. It's a different bond because you don't get the publicity, normally, like a quarterback. When you do get it, it's pretty nice."

Still, the best feeling for a lineman is when a teammate scores.

"The perfect play is on that run block, when you pancake a guy and you see the running back go 40 yards for a touchdown," Matteo said. "You know you made the key block to get him to the barn."

It takes everyone to do their job to make that happen. And often, it takes a lineman's mentality to truly understand what that means.

Skyview Storm

Coach: Steve Kizer.

2012 record : 7-3, 4-1 4A GSHL.

Key players: Jacob Dennis, sr., wr; Matt Matteo, sr., ol/dl; Garrett Lawler, sr., ol/dl; Josh Wilkerson, sr., wr/db; Zach Motil, sr., ol/dl; Gianni Carbone, sr., te/lb; Gage Stumph, sr., wr/db; Mavericq Yamaguchi, sr., qb; Nate Arriola, sr., rb/db; Noah Bonner, sr., wr/db; Taylor Johnson, jr., qb; Zac Shomler, jr., qb; Dylan King, sr., te.

Season outlook: The banner on the wall can be seen from the practice field: League champs in 2006, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, and ‘11. While the Storm finished second last year, the plan remains the same. “The goal will always be to win the league,” Kizer said. “The rest will take care of itself.” There will be a lot of new starters, but the program had more than 160 athletes last week. Surely, the coaching staff will find talent.

2013 SCHEDULE

Sept. 6 Prairie

Sept. 13 at Col. River

Sept. 20 at Lakes

Sept. 27 Enumclaw

Oct. 4 Camas*

Oct. 11 at Heritage*

Oct. 18 at Evergreen*

Oct. 25 Battle Ground*

Nov. 1 at Union*

  • — 4A GSHL game

Home games played at Kiggins Bowl