When O’Dea went ahead 28-7 on Saturday night behind such an incredible night by running back Johri Fogerson, I took a second to look at the Skyline roster, and right then, I told myself, “I think some of these guys will have an opportunity to get back here.”
Then the Spartans actually came back, starting with two quick drives in the third quarter, and then an improbable final six minutes in the fourth. It was a comeback that happened so quickly, it took a second to put it in perspective, just how it happened.
Then, as I was driving home, the thought still hadn’t left my mind: “I think some of these guys have an opportunity to get back here.”
I’ve written much about junior Gino Simone, who won the KingCo 3A offensive player of the year award this season. He not only had 122 yards and two touchdowns Friday, but he also had the 27-yard punt return that set up Skyline’s final touchdown.
There’s also been plenty in this space about sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps, who was, in Gervais’ words, “phenomenal” on Friday. He shrugged off an early interception to throw for 287 and those two touchdowns to Simone. The amazing thing about Heaps is you’re surprised when he doesn’t make a throw. And he’s a sophomore.
But also consider this: Three times, when Skyline coach Steve Gervais needed to call a critical play, he decided to go to a freshman.
With Skyline trailing 28-14, the Spartans started at their own 28 in the third. On the first play, sophomore Jake Heaps threw a 43-yard bomb to freshman — yes, freshman — Kasen Williams, who pulled it in. On the next play, Skyline scored.
“Kasen was spectacular,” Gervais said.
On the next drive, trailing 35-21, Skyline started at its own 40. Heaps threw against to Williams, who made another exceptional catch and it went for 22 yards. Skyline scored six plays later.
Then, on the final drive, Skyline started at the O’Dea 43, and after a pass interference penalty, had 1st down at the 29. Williams ran a slant, and Heaps put it right in front of him, and then Fogerson put an absolute lick on Williams as he hauled it in.
“I don’t even know how I caught it,” said Williams who finished with 106 receiving yards.
But Williams held on, and two plays later, Skyline scored the go-ahead touchdown. I asked Gervais after the game just how long it took to get to the point where he trusted a freshman in that scenario. He said it likely wasn’t until week 10 — the preliminary round — when Williams really moved into the lineup.
“He’s just grown, everybody’s seen it, everybody’s known it.”
So with Heaps, Simone and Williams on offense, it’s not too much of a stretch to say this Skyline team has quite a future, right? I know they move up to Class 4A next year, and the Bothell, Eastlake and Woodinville defenses are for real, but this could be a team we see back at the Dome in the next year or even two years.
There’s one thing for certain after Friday night: That championship game was much better than the first-round game between Lakes and Skyline, which many had claimed should have been the championship.
They also played basketball Friday night, and there were some compelling matchups.
Renton was on my radar in Class 3A, but after a 68-51 victory against the big boys at Gig Harbor, they’ve got my attention. And Mercer Island opened with a critical win, 64-57 against KingCo 3A rival Bellevue (but note that Bellevue’s Alex Schrempf was out with an ankle sprain).
And remember, you can read all area basketball results here:
1. Johri Fogerson, O’Dea, football. I don’t care if the Irish lost; that was a legendary performance that no one will soon forget: 297 yards, four touchdowns.
2. Gino Simone, Skyline, football. This was such a typical Simone game. Scored one touchdown on a stop-and-go, then the next on a catch-and-run. Finished with 122 yards.
3. Jake Heaps, Skyline, football. Cool under pressure to throw for 287 yards and two TDs.
4. Malcholm Love, West Seattle, boys basketball. Scored 31 points in a victory against Hazen
5. Renado Parker, Kentridge, basketball. Helped No. 3 Kentridge survive a challenge from Rogers with 30 points in a 61-52 victory.