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March 1, 2024

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Skyview beats Union 28-6 to get a postseason berth

Titans make it tough in first half, but Storm power through

By , Columbian Sports Editor

A win-or-it’s-over situation. A dose of first-half adversity.

The Skyview football team’s mettle was thrust into the fire on a cool, damp Friday at McKenzie Stadium.

In a gritty 28-6 win over Union, the Storm showed they’re forged of the stuff worthy of a postseason berth.

Now the Storm (7-2, 2-1) join Camas as the two Class 4A Greater St. Helens League entries into the state playoffs. Both will learn their Week 10 opponents once a seeding committee completes its work this weekend.

Skyview ended the regular season with a win in a de facto playoff game that didn’t come easy.

The Storm didn’t find the end zone until the final seconds of the first half. They weren’t able to shake a dogged Union (3-6, 1-2), itself playing to extend its season, until the fourth quarter.

“I think we started off a little slow,” Skyview quarterback Jake Kennedy said. “But after our halftime talks we battled through it and wanted it more.”

Kennedy rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another. But it was his top receiving target, Gavin Packer, whose arm delivered one of the game’s most crucial plays.

Trailing 6-0, Skyview faced fourth and 8 from Union’s 26 with 19 seconds left in the first half. Kennedy threw a backward pass to Packer, who launched a lofted throw to a wide-open Jonathan Stromberg in the end zone.

“I was a quarterback last year, so I can throw the ball a little bit,” said Packer, a sophomore. “We’ve had (that play) in for a couple weeks. We saw, based on the play-calling, they were coming up really hard on it. We were ready.”

The touchdown and a 7-6 lead gave Skyview a shot of momentum to close a first-half filled with frustration. Twice the Storm had the ball inside Union’s 10, only to be denied by a goal-line stand and an interception.

“I don’t think we were executing,” Packer said. “Alignments and assignments, we weren’t doing stuff that we usually do.”

But when the Storm needed a big play, Jalen Salavea and the defense delivered. The 240-pound senior linebacker dropped into coverage and intercepted a pass after the Titans had driven to Skyview’s 42 late in the second quarter.

That gave Skyview the ball at midfield and set up its first touchdown.

“I thought we found a different way to win,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said. “We’ve been scoring a lot of points. This time the defense came up big a bunch of times.”

For much of three quarters, Union’s defense was just as tough. The Titans had Skyview facing 3rd and 27 from Union’s 43 when Kennedy made something out of nothing.

A low snap forced the quarterback to scoop up the slick ball. With no time to find a receiver, Kennedy took off running.

He wouldn’t be stopped for 25 yards, setting up a fourth and 2 that Skyview converted. A few plays later, Kennedy scored on a 6-yard run to put Skyview ahead 14-6 on the final play of the third quarter.

15 Photos
Skyview students celebrate with the team Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, after the Storm beat Union 28-6 at McKenzie Stadium.
Prep Football: Skyview at Union Photo Gallery

“If things get really crappy in the pocket, I look for holes to try and run and get as far as I can,” Kennedy said.

Skyview pulled away in the fourth quarter. After the defense forced a three-and-out to set the offense up at Union’s 41, the Storm went ahead 21-6 on Kennedy’s 3-yard keeper.

Skyview then recovered a fumble at Union’s 17. Two plays later, Kennedy found Packer for a 18-yard touchdown pass that all but clinched the win.

“We’ve got a great group and they’re really fun to coach,” Kizer said. “I’m so happy they get to play some more games. I just hope we have another month of practice. Those guys practice so hard. We practice well as a team. I love that part of it. Hopefully we can keep winning.”


Skyview 0 7 7 14—28

Union 0 6 0 0—6

Second quarter

U — Chase Lofton 6 pass from AJ Attaran (run failed)

S — Jonathan Stromberg 26 pass from Gavin Packer (Jimmy Garduno kick)

Third quarter

S — Jake Kennedy 6 run (Garduno kick)

Fourth quarter

S — Kennedy 3 run (Garduno kick)

S — Packer 18 pass from Kennedy (Garduno kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Skyview: Trey Jacob 14-59, Jake Kennedy 16-57, Levi Webb 3-5, Gavin Packer 2-15. Union: Clayton Maus 4-30, Cody Zehner 2-3, Tyson Fuehrer 3-20, Luke Burbank 3-4, Chase Lofton 1-0, AJ Attaran 6-22.

PASSING — Skyview: Jake Kennedy 14-22-1-110, Gavin Packer 1-1-0-26; Union: AJ Attaran 13-21-1-152.

RECEIVING — Skyview: Gavin Packer 7-58, Riley Artis 2-8, Jonathan Stromberg 4-49, Trey Jacob 2-21. Union: Caden Drobinski 2-0, Chase Lofton 4-36, Ben Hallead 3-69, Toby Smoot 2-40, Luke Burbank 1-0, Cody Zehner 1-7.