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High School Sports Blog

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

September 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM

The Fifth Quarter: Max Browne, a future star, King’s big win and rankings

Alright, folks, here’s the first-ever edition of The Fifth Quarter, my weekly Monday morning wrap up of all the big games, performances and stories from the weekend. Since this is new, the format and length (it’s long right now) could change as the season goes on.

But, for now, here’s what I’m planning and also what this edition will feature:

A story worth watching: This will either be about a team, coach or player that will ideally look ahead beyond just the past weekend.

Big games: What happened in some of the more interesting games The Times may have missed.

Spotlight: The individual performances worth pointing out. Please email submissions to jjenks@seattletimes.com or tweet @JaysonJenks by early Sunday afternoon.

Quotes/off the cusp: Interesting quotes or observations that are (hopefully) worth sharing.

Rankings: The top 10 for 4A, 3A and 2A will debut here every Monday morning.

I’ll also try to give a quick rundown of what to expect from The Fifth Quarter that week. This Monday, I’ll look at the current top KingCo quarterback and his records (Max Browne) and a possible heir (Ross Bowers). We’ll get into Roosevelt’s shut out against No. 5 Seattle Prep, how King’s ended up playing No. 1 Lynden last minute and why Cascade’s win was two years in the making.

And with that, let’s get started.

A story worth watching

On the football field at Skyline High School on Friday night, one quarterback broke what will be one of many fallen records this season while the other showed that one day he could be next.

With his 24 completions against Bothell, Skyline senior quarterback Max Browne passed Jake Heaps for the school’s career completions record. Heaps had 618 completions; Browne now has 629 with 89 fewer attempts. Soon, he will also break the record for touchdowns and career passing yards in KingCo.

After throwing for 291 yards in a 33-21 win against Bothell, Browne only needs 478 yards to pass Heaps as KingCo’s all-time passing leader.

For a little perspective on the two, here’s Skyline coach Mat Taylor, who coached both quarterbacks:

“It’s interesting how different things are,” Taylor said. “With Jake, we were so good up front that we ran the football to have more balance. His last two years, he only played in seven complete games. He was out by halftime or in the third quarter in 21 of the 28 games the last two years. It’s all good and fun talk about who’s the better quarterback and who holds all the records. And by no means do I want to take anything away from Max and his records. It’s just interesting.”

On the other sideline, Bothell sophomore Ross Bowers looked every bit the poised and skilled passer his coach, Tom Bainter, described a few days before. He had his moments late in the game where his youth showed, but I left thinking that I may have watched the next in a long line of great Seattle-area quarterbacks.

“I’ve gone to camps with him, and he’s a heck of a player,” said Skyline defensive back Nic Sblendorio, who picked off Bowers late in the game. “He’s for sure going to be a D-I player. He ‘s just a heck of a quarterback.”

Taylor Barton of Northwesteliteindex.com was even more direct: “He’s a major, major Division I quarterback, and he’s an NFL guy one day. That’s how good he is.”

In one workout, Bowers joined Browne, Newport’s Isaac Dotson (Nevada), King’s Billy Green (BYU), Jeff Lindquist (UW) and Jake Heaps (KU). “Physically, he hung with them,” Barton said. “The hardest thing with Ross is sometimes realizing he’s only a sophomore. He was right there making every throw with those guys.”

Bowers comes from good stock; his dad coached with Urban Meyer at Bowling Green and his mom is the gymnastics coach at UW. Bainter said that’s part of the reason why Bowers is so poised and mature as a sophomore.

Physically, Bowers is 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and possesses a strong and accurate arm. Facing No. 1 Skyline, he started the game 5 for 6 with two touchdowns. He connected on an 85-yard touchdown with Jared Berry after Bowers saw his receiver break free in the Skyline secondary.

“I actually thought, you know, he’s a sophomore and we can get after him the first couple series and try to confuse him,” Skyline’s Taylor said. “But number one, I thought Tom called great plays to get his confidence going with some safe throws. And the other thing is he delivered. The bottom line is we may have had a badly blown coverage, but the kid still had to read it and see it. There’s a lot of times we’re watching film and going, ‘Oh my God, we didn’t cover this guy!’ A kid can just get so locked in to one person, so I was impressed.”

Bowers mostly made the right decisions, going 15 for 33 for 224 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He put it close on a couple of tough throws to his receivers’ back shoulders, he threw on the move, and he got rid of the ball quickly when blitzes came his way.

He looked more like a sophomore quarterback in the fourth quarter, when Skyline really started getting after him. He tried to throw the ball while he was being spun to the ground, finding only an offensive lineman. And he also lost two fumbles and tossed an interception late in the game.

His development – and the records Browne will eventually break – will be interesting to follow this season.

Big games

Roosevelt senior class paves way for upset

Roosevelt coach Matt Nelson first told me about his 25-member senior class last week. He said it was a big class by Roosevelt’s standards and one determined to change not just a losing culture, but also the way future football players would work.

At the time, I was skeptical. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s a mirage, especially before any games have been played.

Then I saw this score on Friday: Roosevelt 28, Seattle Prep 0. And, suddenly, everything Nelson had said became a little more substantial.

The Roughriders put a lid on Prep’s running back tandem of Tere Calloway and Charlie Brennan, a duo The Times referred to as thunder (Brennan) and lightning (Calloway) before the season. After the game, The Roosevelt News playfully tweeted, “So much for thunder and lightning. RHS shuts out Prep 28-0 in the season opener.”

It was a big game for Roosevelt for multiple reasons. For starters, the Roughriders haven’t played Seattle Prep since they joined KingCo in 1997. “Anytime we’re playing a city school our guys get really excited,” Nelson said. “Their school is close to our school, and a lot of our guys know their guys.”

Secondly, Prep entered the season as the fifth-ranked team in 3A and some preseason polls actually had the Panthers hire than that.

Roosevelt fullback Taku Shiozaki, the team’s primary weapon, rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Cameron Holand had a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown that iced Roosevelt’s win.

Yet that’s not where Roosevelt won a game Nelson described as “smash mouth: A lot of running the ball, not a lot of passing the ball.”

“Of course it’s always the running back and defensive back that get their names in the paper,” Nelson said. “But if I had to give the game ball out, and I think if they were to do it too, it would go to our offensive and defensive line.”

That group – Mitchell Shepherd, Adam Dickenson, Connor Baldwin, AJ Shropshire, Wil McKinley, Manny Antolin, Starling Tate and Tate Maider – controlled the line of scrimmage and allowed Roosevelt to open the season with a signature win. Most of those guys are also seniors.

In the three years that the current seniors have been in the program, the Roughriders have improved by one win per season, from 2-7 in 2009 to 3-6 in 2010 and 4-5 last year.

“Since we came to Roosevelt,” Shepherd said, “we’ve been working hard to change the culture and really change the program around as far as wins and losses as well as work ethic and the time you put in. We feel like this year we have chance to do so. This was the first step, but we’re still hungry for more.”

Living like King’s: 1A Knights knock off top-ranked 2A power

Presented with a situation that looked as if King’s wouldn’t play on Friday night, the Knights found – then beat – a quality opponent all in less than 36 hours.

King’s was supposed to play Ingraham, but the Rams cancelled the week before because they didn’t have enough players. That sent King’s hunting for a replacement. Possibilities included Metro League schools, a team from Spokane and even one from Canada.

When all those didn’t work, King’s received a call Thursday morning from 2A powerhouse Lynden, which also had a game cancelled. Before he pulled the trigger, King’s coach Jim Shapiro wanted to check with his team first.

“Obviously I considered us the underdog, and I took some time to think about if that was the best thing for our team,” said Shapiro, whose team is one of the favorite’s in 1A. “I called our coaching staff and called most of our seniors and asked if they were up for the challenge. The unanimous response was yes.”

In the end, it all worked out perfectly for the Knights, who knocked off No. 1 Lynden 42-39 in the final minute. King’s quarterback Billy Green proved once again why BYU wants him, passing for 270 yards and five touchdowns.

Even more impressive considering he started his senior season with an interception on the second play of the game. Lynden capitalized with a touchdown for a 7-0 lead a minute into the game.

“I would say that most teams, and even teams I coached historically, would be pretty down after that,” Shapiro said. “But there was a real resilience with the kids. They didn’t freak out.”

The Knights then found themselves down 11 in the third quarter, but rallied in the fourth to score a touchdown on a 65-yard , five-minute drive that put them ahead 42-39 with about a minute left.

Green and receiver Caleb Taylor (11 catches, 148 yards, three touchdowns) led the way before running back Trevor Hanson rumbled for the final 20 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown.

“We knew the game wasn’t over,” Shapiro said. “There’s a Lynden mystique, a Lynden magic that happens.”

Yet, after getting to the Knights’ 35, Lynden’s long pass fell incomplete, and King’s was left with a headline-grabbing win that validates all the preseason hype. And it comes two weeks before King’s will play another loaded 2A power: Archbishop Murphy on Sept. 13.

Cascade snaps 24-game losing streak

The Cascade Bruins had gone 24 games and more than two years without ever leaving a football field with a win. Think about that: Two years.

And yet, in the feel-good story of the week, the Bruins finally took an axe to their losing streak with a 20-12 win against Shorewood. Cascade quarterback Ryan Lucas had two touchdowns passes to KJ Brady as the Bruins finally got that elusive win.

In a video of Cascade coach Joe Cronin’s pregame speech posted by the Everett Herald, Cronin told his players, all kneeling around him, “If you go full speed and we get after it and you’re relentless, we’re going to be celebrating in that locker room. How great is that going to feel?”

Big performances

Woodinville safety Caleb Hamilton had three interceptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. Also forced a fumble and had two pass breakups in an overtime win against Lakes.

King’s quarterback Billy Green completed 20 of 29 passes for 270 yards and five touchdowns. Also led King’s on a late game-winning drive in a 42-39 win against No. 1 Lynden.

Eastside Catholic quarterback Trey Reynolds accounted for three touchdowns in a 41-14 win against Liberty.

Skyline receiver/defensive back Nic Sblendorio returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown, had 86 yards receiving on eight catches and also returned an interception 55 yards.

Foster running back Devin Brown rushed for 153 yards on 26 carries and also had two touchdowns.

Bishop Blanchet’s Jack Gardner and Ryan Harmon: Harmon blocked an extra point in the Braves’ 7-6 win against Ballard while Gardner preserved the victory with an interception in the end zone with less than a minute left.

Mercer Island quarterback Brian Higgins completed 25 of 36 passes for 261 yards and accounted for five touchdowns.

Quotes/ off the cusp

“Some of these kids didn’t know how to celebrate,” Cascade coach Joe Cronin to the Everett Herald.

It must have been a cool feeling for all the players, parents and fans who waited more than two years and 24 games for a win.

“You’ve got a team over there that is used to playing every play with an even-keel. They’ve been there. They’ve won championships. They’ve had to come back from a couple scores. We need to become that team to have the character to play it the same way. We’ve got to get past that in our program. If we’re going to beat a team like this, we have to play them toe-to-toe all the way through,” Bothell coach Tom Bainter after his team’s 33-21 loss to Skyline.

I love this quote. Bothell played a solid game against a tough Skyline team, but this is the reason Bainter is a great coach. Bainter said his team would take no moral victory away from hanging with the top-ranked team for three quarters. He said this group needs to take the next step.

“We expected to win. We went having the belief because we put in the work in the offseason and since we arrived at Roosevelt. We expected to win before the game started,” Roosevelt offensive lineman Mitchell Shepherd after his team beat Seattle Prep 28-0.

This was probably the biggest shocker of week one, but not to Shepherd and his teammates. Four years of trying to change a program paid off in the first game for the Roughriders.

– Quick note: Former Jackson running back Taylor Cox had 121 yards for my Kansas Jayhawks in a win against South Dakota State. As first-year coach Charlie Weis told my friend Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal, “When a guy has enough wiggle and shake and bake to make people miss but is physical enough to run people over like we saw (Saturday) night, that’s a good sign.”

Rankings

Class 4A

1. Skyline (Sammamish) (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Cottonwood (Utah, Murray). Game at 6 p.m. on ESPNU

2. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Lakes

3. Mead (Spokane) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. North Central

4. Federal Way (1-0)

Sept. 6 vs. Emerald Ridge

5. Bothell (0-1)

Sept. 7 vs. Bellevue

6. Issaquah (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Mount Si

7. Edmonds-Woodway (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Mountlake Terrace

8. Skyview (Vancouver) (0-1)

Sept. 7 vs. Columbia River

9. Union (Vancouver) (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Jesuit

10. Camas (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Canby (Ore.)

Out: Chiawana (0-1)

Class 3A

1. Bellevue (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Bothell

2. O’Dea (Seattle) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Ballard

3. Mount Si (Snoqualmie) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Issaquah

4. Lakes (Lakewood) (0-1)

Sept. 7 at Bellarmine Prep

5. Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Eastlake

6. Glacier Peak (Snohomish) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Snohomish

7. Meadowdale (1-0)

Sept. 6 vs. Inglemoor

8. Mercer Island (1-0)

Sept. 8 vs. Coeur d’Alene

9. Hanford (Richland) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Kamiakin

10. Timberline (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Tumwater

Out: Kennedy Catholic (Burien) (0-1), Seattle Prep (0-1), Kamiakin (0-1)

Class 2A

1. Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (1-0)

Sept. 7 at University City (San Diego)

2. Lynden (0-1)

Sept. 7 at Anacortes

3. Capital (Olympia) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Olympia

4. Prosser (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Grandview

5. Othello (1-0)

Sept. 7 at Wapato

6. W.F. West (Chehalis) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Pendleton

7. Ellensburg (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Ephrata

8. East Valley (Spokane) (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Lakeland

9. Lakewood (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Meridian

10. Burlington-Edison (1-0)

Sept. 7 vs. Bellingham

Out: Franklin Pierce (Parkland) (0-1), Tumwater (0-1), West Valley (Spokane) (0-1)

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