The Skyview Storm and Union Titans had the spotlight all to themselves Thursday — and the spotlight shined brightest on the Storm.
An impressive, dominant 37-7 victory put Skyview (6-1 overall, 2-0 league) a step closer to earning the 4A Greater St. Helens League title and a No. 1 seed heading into the postseason.
But the Storm know they haven’t won anything yet with next week’s date with Camas on the road up next. With only two playoff spots awarded this year out of the 4A GSHL, every game counts. Especially as the regular-season winds down.
How dominant was the Storm on Thursday? They held Union to under 150 total yards through three quarters while shutting out the Titans the first 36 minutes. A 12-yard touchdown reception by Jaydon Jones ended the shutout to open the fourth quarter. By that time, Skyview’s lead was 30-0 with quarterback Niko Arriola accounting for three touchdowns.
Senior Tanner Beaman said the short week of preparation was the team’s best set of practices all season.
It translated perfectly onto the scoreboard.
“Coming out here and stopping those guys was huge for our defense, and good for our confidence going into these next couple of games,” Beaman said.
Beaman had five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Jaydin Knapp rushed for 149 yards on 16 carries and one score and also had a pair of catches for 66 yards. Three players — Gabe Martin, Teddy Beaver and Jerrid Sector — each picked off Union quarterback Mitch Ratigan.
Union (5-2, 1-1) had turnovers in two of its first three possessions, and both led to points by Skyview. It had a 199-30 advantage in total yards by halftime. In all, Skyview outgained Union 424-240.
For head coach Steve Kizer, everything lined up perfectly for his team’s best performance to date.
Without a doubt,” the longtime coach said. “It’d be nice to have another nice performance next week. We’re turning it on at the right time, I believe.”
Both teams entered Thursday — and the meats of their league schedule — with identical overall (5-1) and league (1-0) records. The game was the 14th between the two schools since Union opened, and six of their previous meetings were one-score outcomes.
Not this time.
“Absolutely a statement win,” Beaman said.
Early turnovers = points: It was a turnover circus on three of the game’s first five possessions. And Skyview capitalized. The first 10 Skyview points came off a fumble recovery and interception. Their shortest scoring drive came on a quick six-play, 25-yard drive to open the game’s scoring. In all, both teams combined for six turnovers — four by Union and two by Skyview.
Long drive times: Two of Skyview’s scoring ate up some serious clock — 6-plus minutes. After Union punted for the third time of the first half with 7:58 left in the second quarter, Skyview drove 73 yards in 7:54 — highlighted by five first downs, including a key first-down conversion on a fourth and 1 by Jaydin Knapp inside 1 minute left. Three plays later, kicker Fedya Hendrichs-Tarasenkov drilled his second field goal of the game. Skyview opened the second half marching 78 yards down to the 4-yard line before Hendrichs-Tarasenkov’s 23-yarder extended the lead to 23-0. The kicker had three field goals on the night.
SKYVIEW 37, UNION 7
Union 0 0 0 7— 7
Skyview 10 10 10 7—37
S — Niko Arriola 2 run (Feya Hendrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
S — Hendrichs-Tarasenkov 32 FG
S — Tanner Beaman 38 pass from Arriola (Hendrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
S — Hendrichs-Tarasenkov 23 FG
S — Hendrichs-Tarasenkov 20 FG
S — Arriola 1 run (Hendrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
U — Jaydon Jones 12 pass from Mitch Ratigan (Sonny Pitts kick)
S — Jaydin Knapp 42 run (Hendrichs-Tarasenkov kick)
RUSHING — Union: Jaydon Jones 14-81, Mitch Ratigan 5-7, Tobias Merriweather 3-10, Marques Cantu 6-62; Skyview: Jaydin Knapp 16-149, Niko Arriola 7-24, Gabe Martin 14-60, Trey Jacob 3-10.
PASSING — Union: Mitch Ratigan 9-22-3-76; Skyview: Arriola 13-17-2-181.
RECEIVING — Union: Merriweather 5-57, Cantu 1-(minus 2), Korey Bozovich 1-6, Jones 6-16; Skyview: Knapp 2-66, Tanner Beaman 5-67, Teddy Beaver 2-11, Riley Artis 1-11.