BEAVERTON, Ore. – There’s something to be said for scheduling a tough early-season schedule, even if it means surrendering an extra loss or two.
Because for a team like Skyview with plenty of youth on its roster, the experience of playing in those games has more value.
In the Storm’s 24-21 loss to Oregon 6A power Jesuit on Friday, coaches and players agreed the team grew from the game.
“We got better as the game went on,” Skyview head coach Steve Kizer said. “(There was) no quit in those guys.”
Skyview faced a 17-point deficit two minutes into the fourth quarter when Jesuit’s Lonnie Burt scored his second rushing touchdown from three yards out.
The Storm proceeded to execute a pair of touchdown drives inside the final three minutes. First, junior quarterback Jake Kennedy connected with sophomore receiver Gavin Packer for a 71-yard catch and run.
A quick three-and-out for the Skyview defense put the ball back in Kennedy’s hands. The Storm put together a 78-yard drive, highlighted by a 45-yard reception from Riley Artis, and finished off on Jonathan Stromberg’s 5-yard touchdown catch from Kennedy.
Skyview very nearly recovered the ensuing onside kick with 29 seconds left, but Jesuit was able to get its hands on the loose ball and run out the clock.
“I think it was a good dogfight,” said Kennedy, who made his first start for Skyview. “We really were competitive with each other, pushed each other (and) never let each other quit.”
It was a stark contrast to the nervous team that took the field in the first quarter.
The Crusaders, who made the OSAA 6A state semifinals last season, marched down the field on their opening drive. Quarterback Jacob Hutchinson spread the ball around to three different receivers, and a multi-faceted running attack led by Payton Roth and Burt, who scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown to give Jesuit a 7-0 lead.
Skyview’s first two offensive plays, a botched handoff from Kennedy and a false start, forced the Storm into a 3-and-out. The team’s second drive moved inside the Jesuit 10-yard line, but the Crusaders turned the Storm over on downs.
The Storm settled in toward the end of the first half with a 17-yard touchdown from Kennedy hauled in by Packer, which came after Hezechariah Po Ching and Jalen Salavea were in on a Jesuit fumble recovery. The Storm also got a pair of interceptions from Josh King and Micah Robison.
“Definitely the first drive everyone was a little nervous, everyone had their jitters, but once we started moving the ball, we just kept going, got in the flow and were calm,” Kennedy said.
Jesuit’s Roth (149 rushing yards, one touchdown) and Burt (114 rushing yards, two touchdowns) led the Crusaders rushing attack and gave the Storm plenty to think about defensively.
Hutchinson threw for 117 yards led by Jace Burton’s 57 receiving yards on three catches.
“It’s just hard to simulate that offense and you don’t want to bring your own guys to the ground like that,” Kizer said. “Their senior running back (Roth), he’s good. I thought we got better at tackling them as the game went on, that’s the biggest thing.”
“Our guys, I thought we just played really hard. But we made a lot of dumb mistakes still, so we’ll correct that. We’ve got to coach better, and we got to play a little better.”
JESUIT (Ore.) 24, SKYVIEW 21
Skyview 0 7 0 14—21
Jesuit 7 7 3 7—24
J — Lonnie Burt 4 run (Kadyn Butcher kick)
J — Payton Roth 42 run (Butcher kick)
S — Gavin Packer 17 pass from Jake Kennedy (Ethan McClinton kick)
J — Butcher 27 field goal
J — Burt 3 run (Butcher kick)
S — Packer 71 pass from Kennedy (McClinton kick)
S — Jonathan Stromberg 5 pass from Kennedy (McClinton kick)
RUSHING — Skyview: Trey Jacob 7-22, Jake Kennedy 6-68, Jerrid Secor 1-2, Gavin Packer 1-5, Rex Allinger 1-3. Jesuit: Garrett Speer 10-24, Payton Roth 14-149, Lonnie Burt 14-108, Noah Stanley 7-53, Jacob Hutchinson 1-4.
PASSING — Skyview: Jake Kennedy 15-31-228-3. Jesuit: Jacob Hutchinson 8-15-117-0.
RECEIVING — Skyview: Gavin Packer 7-137, Trey Jacob 2-17, Jonathan Stromberg 3-27, Hezechariah Po Ching 2-21, Riley Artis 2-51. Jesuit: Jace Burton 3-57, Noah Stanley 3-36, Nick Ferrero 2-27.