When you think of the Skyview Storm, what comes to mind?
Well-coached? Annual challengers in the 4A Greater St. Helens League? Yes, and yes.
How about postseason consistency? Yes on that, too.
Over coach Steve Kizer’s 13-year tenure, the Storm have missed the playoffs just once; their 12-year playoff run is the second-best streak among teams in the 4A GSHL this year.
Yet you might as well call the Storm underdogs. That’s how they feel, and more importantly, that’s how they like it.
But it doesn’t mean there are not lofty aspirations.
“We want everything,” senior Cole Grossman said. “We want league, we want state. Our team is pretty confident we can do it.”
And accomplish it under the radar, too.
Remember the 2016 Skyview Storm, with a 3-3 record through six weeks after falling to Camas in their league opener? From there, the team won six straight to reach its first 4A state semifinal since 2011.
Kizer hopes that can happen again. This time, with a stacked defense that opposing league coaches were praising as early as July. Skyview returns eight starters on defense, including six first- or second-team all-league honorees.
“We should be OK,” Kizer said.
Just OK, coach? Three returning linebackers and another four on the defensive line who saw extensive playing time make for a strong front seven.
The biggest question mark is at quarterback, where a trio are battling for the starting job. Kizer labeled Max Rose as the starter for the team’s opener against Sunset of Beaverton, Ore.
It’s part of another tough nonleague slate that includes O’Dea and Eastside Catholic the first three weeks. All three were state playoff teams in 2016.
Grossman said teams as strong as that trio can be a good measuring stick. If Skyview gets the wins, all the better, but a loss isn’t the end of the world.
Just look at 2016 as an example.
“Those are going to be some good games,” Grossman said a matter-of-factly. “It’s a good way to see where we can improve (win or lose).”
2016 Record: 9-4, 3-1. Second in 4A GSHL
Best State Finish: Second in 2011
Returning All-League selections in bold
QB Max Rose 6-1 190 Sr.
RB Angelo Sarchi 6-0 195 Sr.
WR Cole Grossman 6-5 210 Sr.
WR Tavis Pinkney 5-10 165 Sr.
WR Carter Hill 5-10 165 Sr.
TE Jayden Chatman 6-2 230 Sr.
OL Tanner Greene 6-3 225 Sr.
OL Taylor Vo 6-0 240 Sr.
OL Michael Lundgren 6-1 220 Sr.
OL Jevon Kelly 6-0 260 Sr.
OL Noah Hellyer 6-4 255 Sr.
* * *
DL Levi Hoppes 6-2 215 Sr.
DL Jevon Kelly 6-0 260 Sr.
DL Jayden Chatman 6-2 230 Sr.
DL Noah Hellyer 6-4 255 Sr.
LB Austin Nolan 6-0 210 Sr.
LB Michael Lundgren 6-1 220 Sr.
LB Chad Eigsti 6-3 205 Sr.
DB Dyvon Green 5-7 170 Sr.
DB Angelo Sarchi 6-0 195 Sr.
DB Carter Hill 6-0 185 Sr.
DB Jevon Sewell 6-1 185 Sr.
Coach: Steve Kizer (14th year)
Home games at Kiggins Bowl
League games in bold
Sept. 1, Sunset (Ore.) 8 p.m.
Sept. 8, Eastside Catholic 8 p.m.
Sept. 15, at O’Dea 5 p.m.
Sept. 22, Mountain View 8 p.m.
Sept. 29, at Columbia River 7 p.m.
Oct. 6, Camas 5 p.m.
Oct. 12, at Battle Ground 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, Union 8 p.m.
Oct. 27, at Heritage 4:30 p.m.