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Skyview back in 4A state playoffs behind 30-27 win

Storm hold off late-game rally by Hazen in state preliminary round

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 2, 2018, 11:13pm

RENTON — The Skyview Storm believe they’re back.

This time a year ago, the Storm finished one spot out of a playoff berth from the 4A GSHL that snapped a 12-year postseason streak.

Friday, not only did Skyview play a Week 10 state preliminary round game, but is now part of the Class 4A round-of-16 playoffs behind its 30-27 win over Hazen of Renton.

The WIAA’s newly created state playoff seeding committee will determine the Storm’s (6-4) fate when it meants Sunday to decide first-round state playoff matchups.

“This is only going to continue,” junior Mason Wheeler said. “We’re focused on the now. We can surprised a lot of people if we get everything together.”

Friday, a lot came together at Renton Memorial Stadium.

Wheeler tied his career high with 10 catches for 131 yards, tight end Micah Baylous had all four catches for 79 yards in the first half, including three catches on third down, and the defense at one point stopped Hazen on five straight possessions.

But it also withstood Hazen’s late-game rally that cut a once two-score lead to three with 5 minutes, 28 seconds to play. Both scores came from Gabriel Ogunleye on a 40-yard interception return for a score and a 25-yard touchdown run.

With Skyview’s lead at 30-27 inside 1 minute left, Hazen’s last chance for a possible tie or game-winning score on a drive that began at its own 17 ended when Isaiah Rupp picked off quarterback Jaxon Ingram and returned it 35 yards to set up victory formation.

Despite losses in two of its three games, Skyview knows its schedule only prepared them for this moment. The Storm will now reach the state playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

“Playing good teams earlier in the season prepares us for everything,” said quarterback Yaro Duvalko, who completed 22 of 33 passes for 303 yards. “It’s going to be a fun run in these playoffs.”

Skyview (6-4) led by as many as 30-14 behind 17 straight first-half points and starting the third quarter with two quick-scoring drives that ate up less than 5 total minutes.

Sandwiched in-between was a defense that forced two punts, caused two turnovers on downs and an interception (two total in the game).

This is a same Hazen (6-4) team that dropped a 52-0 loss to Camas in Week 2, but as the season progressed, so did the Highlanders’ improvement by winning five of their final six regular-season games.

And like they have all season, Friday featured big-time plays by big-time playmaker Corbin Walker.

The Hazen senior receiver and defensive back who verbally committed to Montana earlier this week had a memorable final high-school game. He finished with 13 catches for a game-high 215 yards and almost single-handedly helped the Highlanders stay within striking distance behind big-yardage plays and chain-moving catches. Seven of his 13 catches were for 15 or more yards, including 58 and 12 yards on consecutive plays in Hazen’s fastest scoring drive — 23 seconds — in the second quarter.

That drive in addition to its game-opening six-play, 64-yard score showed how quickly Hazen can score. It also needed just 2-plus minutes to get within 30-27 on Ogunleye’s 25-yard score.

Skyview got the ball back with 3:53 to play and ate clock behind Gabe Martin (70 yards, 22 carries), Yaro Duvalko, and Ahamni Williams’ only catch of the game on third and long. Skyview punted the ball back to Hazen with 52.5 seconds left, and two plays later came Rupp’s interception.

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A notable statistics is Skyview’s third-down conversion rate. In the first half alone, the Storm converted 6 of 8 third-down plays.

That’s something Wheeler highlighted as part of a good week of practice on its way to a playoff win.

“Certain plays we knew would be big for us,” he said. “When it came to third down, everybody felt like it was third and 1. We knew what we were doing and knew what certain plays we had to make.”


Skyview 7 10 13 0 -30

Hazen 7 7 13 7 -27

First quarter

H — Jaxon Ingram 1 run (Caden Beck kick)

S — Yaro Duvalko 1 run (Cody McKinney kick)

Second quarter

S — Evann Safitch 35 FG

S — Tyler DeJong 1 run (McKinney kick)

H — Corbin Walker 12 pass from Ingram (Beck kick)

Third quarter

S — Cooper Barnum 16 pass from Duvalko (kick failed)

S — DeJong 22 run (McKinney kick)

H — Gabriel Ogunleye 40 INT return (pass fails)

Fourth quarter

H — Ogunleye 25 pass from Ingram (Beck kick)


RUSHING — Hazen: Jaxon Ingram 7-39, Elijah Barnes 4-4, Gabriel Ogunleye 1-6; Skyview: Gabe Martin 22-70, Tyler DeJong 10-51, Robert Mosley 1-2, Yaro Duvalko 8-16.

PASSING — Hazen: Jaxon Ingram 18-36-1-303; Skyview: Yaro Duvalko 23-33-1-303.

RECEIVING — Gabriel Ogunleye 2-33, Gerald Damus 3-55, Corbin Walker 13-215; Skyview: Micah Baylous 4-79, Ahmani Williams 1-11, Gabe Martin 1-4, Xavier Owens 1-(minus-3), Cooper Barnum 3-29, Mason Wheeler 10-131.