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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

September 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM

That Skyline D is back again

They won with their quarterback firing struggling to find guys in coverage.

They won with their star senior not getting a catch until the fourth and dropping more balls in about five minutes than he did all of last season.

They won with their sophomore phenom getting only a pair of catches.

The Skyline Spartans beat the best Oregon had to offer 21-0, even with their touted passing game off kilter. Instead, its defense — one that replaced several key starters — won this one against Sheldon, the Class 6A champion in Oreon last season. From the two goalline stands in the first half to the interception return for a touchdown in the second, Skyline’s defense and defensive coordinator Chad Barrett get the credit for Saturday’s win.

“Everyone always talks about Skyline’s big-time offense, but this defense has won an awful lot of games for us,” Skyline senior Gino Simone said.

Starting slow on offense has actually become a bit of a Skyline tradition. You might remember the Spartans scored just once in the opener last season — which the defense also held up for a 6-0 win. Skyline scored on its first drive — set up by William Chandler’s interception — on a Jake Heaps pass to Jake Knecht on fourth down.

But that was one of six Heaps completions in 18 attempts — Skyline had seven drops in the first half alone — and only its running game helped Skyline move the ball. The time of possession tells a story that’s awfully different from the final score: Sheldon 28:58; Skyline 19:02.

“I think our offense is capable of more,” Heaps said. “The defense was unbelievable. They ultimately won the game.

Skyline won this game mostly because it ended two long Sheldon drives at the Spartans’ 1-yard line. Early in the second quarter, Sheldon fumbled on the goalline and Skyline pounced on it. And then, as the half close, Sheldon was at the 1 again with 10 seconds left. Barrett told Simone, “You see that tight end block, just go.” And Simone burst past the line and took down Sheldon’s quarterback at the 10. Sheldon tried to spike and get another play off, but time ran out.

Skyline finally broke through midway through the third, when the gave Simone the ball on a counter — coach Mat Taylor has a card dictating how many times he has to touch it — and he beat all the Irish defenders 87 yards for a touchdown. Then Kasen Williams, the Spartans’ talented sophomore, iced it with a 68-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“The bottom line is there’s a lot of pressure on these kids right now. I’ve been doing the best I can to diffuse it, but I can only do so much. The expectations are so high, they’re trying to do more than they can.”

The bottom line for me is that even when Skyline isn’t playing its best, it beats the top team in Oregon by three scores. It’s hard to expect any more than that.

Morning stars

1. Peter Nguyen, Bellevue, football. Ran for 134 yards and four touchdowns in Bellevue’s big 41-13 win.

2. Sarah Hubbard, Bishop Blanchet, volleyball. Had 14 kills in a 3-1 victory against Bellarmine Prep.

3. Sara Ives, Ballard, girls soccer. Scored two goals with an assist against Nathan Hale

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