The Skyview Storm were adamant. Don’t let the scoreboard fool you.
“Lake Stevens is a tough, tough team,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “That final score was not indicative of how close this game was.”
But when you win the battle of the turnovers, that sure helps.
Skyview had five interceptions by five different players and Jeremiah Wright caught two touchdown passes as the Storm beat Lake Stevens 35-14 Saturday at Kiggins Bowl to advance to the Class 4A state semifinals.
“It definitely turned the tide of this game,” quarterback Brody Barnum said of the Storm’s interceptions. “In the playoffs, turnovers are the most important part of the game. You’ve got to be safe with the ball, be smart with the ball. And our defense got the ball back to us and put it in our hands. That was definitely a huge factor in this game.”
Skyview will play Richland next weekend at a site and time to be announced Sunday.
Lake Stevens quarterback Conor Bardue came into the game with 40 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. But the Storm defense doubled his intercpetion total on Saturday, with picks by Dyvon Green, Michael Lundgren, Noah Hellyer, Cole Grossman and Angelo Sarchi.
“We were getting good pressure (up front) so it helped our linebackers and corners make good drops” into coverage, said Grossman, who also had 1 1/2 sacks. “So as long as we’re doing that, we’re getting the job done.”
The teams were tied 7-7 at halftime when Lake Stevens opened the third quarter by driving to the Skyview 24.
Then a Skyview lineman Chyrius Duckett swatted a Conor Barnum pass into the air and Hellyer grabbed it before it hit the turf.
Four plays later, Wright took a pass in the flat and raced 64 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Grossman followed up with his interception four plays later, setting up Travis Yajko’s 31-yard touchdown reception.
The Skyview defense came up big again when the Vikings had a first-and-goal at the Storm 4. Lake Stevens got to the 1 on third down, but advanced no further as Skyview forced a turnover on downs.
The Storm then marched 96 yards on 13 plays with Barnum’s 2-yard TD run capping the drive for a 28-7 lead.
Lake Stevens cut the margin quickly to 28-14, but the Storm took eight minutes off the clock before scoring the clinching TD on Wright’s 20- yard reception with 2:03 left.
Wright had five catches for 142 yards. Barnum passed for 243 yards and rusehd for 65 more.
Now, Skyview is going to the semifinals for the first time since reaching the state game in 2011.
“It’s unbelievable,” Barnum said. “We’ve got to keep this going.”
SKYVIEW 35, LAKE STEVENS 14
LStevens 0 7 0 7—14
Skyview 7 0 14 14—35
S — Dyvon Green 1 run (Wyatt Stallman kick)
LS — Blake May 1 run (Brock Widmann kick)
S — Jeremiah Wright 64 pass from Brody Barnum (Stallman kick)
S — Travis Yajko 31 pass from Barnum (Stallman kick)
S — Barnum 2 run (Stallman kick)
LS — Austin Murren 15 pass from Conor Bardue (Widmman kick)
S — Wright 20 pass from Barnum (Stallman kick)
RUSHING — Lake Stevens: May 12-73, Hunter Eckstrom 4-34, Jack Larson 1-(-1), Bardue 2-(-8). Skyview: Green 18-88, Barnum 16-65, Hayden Froeber 9-39, James Millspaugh 2-7, Angelo Sarchi 1-1.
PASSING — Lake Stevens: Bardue 19-28-5-238. Skyview: Barnum 15-21-0-243.
RECEIVING — Lake Stevens: Anthony Hutchinson 5-93, Murren 3-55, Jake Rasmussen 3-45, May 4-30, Eckstrom 4-23. Skyview: Wright 5-142, Yajko 3-47, Froeber 1-26, Cole Grossman 5-22, Green 1-7.