Skyview senior Xavier Owens heard the playcall. He knew quarterback Clark Coleman was throwing his way. The situation? Fourth-and-5 from the Union 6-yard line and the Storm trailed 20-16 with less than five minutes remaining in the 4A Greater St. Helens League showdown.
They ran the play countless times this offseason, readying for this precise moment. When Owens got his chance, he refused to falter. Coleman hit Owens on the inside slant with 4:39 remaining and the Storm defense held to give Skyview a massive 23-20 victory over Union on Friday at Kiggins Bowl.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but it’s something I always practiced for,” Owens said of catching a game-winner.
Owens caught six passes for 56 yards. He also had an interception with a lengthy return that set up a Storm score. Coleman finished with 132 yards on 14-of-20 passing and he ran in an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Gabriel Martin rumbled for 79 yards on 24 carries, including a 2-yard second-quarter score.
The defense was stiff, too. Jaydin Knapp had an interception in the back of the end zone. Ty Evans had a strip sack that gave the Storm a short field.
“We came into this game and just went balls to the wall and executed everything,” Evans said. “We’re all two-way players. We’re tired as hell. But we just went out there and won the game.”
And when the Titans gave Skyview opportunities, the Storm took advantage. Union committed 120 yards of penalties, several coming in key moments. On the Storm’s game-winning 16-play, 80-yard drive, Skyview failed to convert a third down. A defensive holding penalty extended the possession.
It was that way all night for the Titans, who couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. Skyview’s first two scores came off turnovers: Evans’ strip sack and Owens’ interception led to Storm scoring drives of 35 and 9 yards in the second quarter.
Still, the Titans led at the half.
Jake Bowen hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring and Tobias Merriweather scored on a 40-yard catch and run to enter halftime leading 14-13.
Skyview kicker Fedya Henrichs-Tarasenkov gave the Storm the lead with a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter. Merriweather immediately responded with an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown that put the Titans back up 20-16 entering the final frame.
That’s when Skyview went on its 16-play game-winning drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock.
“Tobias will always be my brother; I train with him,” Owens said of the Division I recruit. Owens signed with Division II Western Oregon. “I’m glad he’s doing his thing over there at Union, but sometimes you have to show how a little brother how it’s done.”
Union had one more chance and drove into Skyview territory. On fourth and inches from the Storm 30, the Titans’ wildcat offense took the field. But a bad snap spelled the end for the Titans’ hopes.
Alex Gehrmann finished with 262 yards on 25-of-39 passing and Marques Cantu hauled in nine passes for 50 yards. Jaden Hornsby had a second-quarter interception.
Skyview (3-0) takes on Evergreen on Thursday at Kiggins; Union (2-1) hosts Heritage at McKenzie the same day.
SKYVIEW 23, UNION 20
Union 7 7 6 0 20
Skyview 0 13 3 7 23
U — Jake Bowen 13 pass from Alex Gehrmann (Sonny Pitts kick)
S — Clark Coleman 18 run (Fedya Henrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
S — Gabriel Martin 2 run (kick fail)
U — Tobias Merriweather 40 pass from Gehrmann (Pitts kick)
S — Henrichs-Tarasenkov 39 FG
U — Merriweather 88 kick return (run fail)
S — Xavier Owens 6 pass from Coleman (Henrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
Rushing — U: Alex Gehrmann 4-(-12), Aidan Olson 2-13, Jaydon Jones 5-8, Marques Cantu 1-3; S: Gabriel Martin 24-79, Jaydin Knapp 5-15, Clark Coleman 8-19. ,
Passing — U: Alex Gehrmann 25-39-2-262, Tobias Merriweather 0-1-0-0; S: Clark Coleman 14-20-1-132.
Receiving — U: Jake Bowen 3-30, Tobias Merriweather 5-105, Liam Boyce 1-(-5), Jaydon Jones 4-42, Kellen Milliken 1-10, Cole Rebman 2-30, Marques Cantu 9-50; S: Teddy Beaver 1-17, Rhett Sarvela 2-22, Brycen Doman 2-7, Tanner Beaman 3-30, Xavier Owens 6-56.