The wish: That Bellevue and Skyline play each other in one final game to cap the 2012 season. Think about it. Two undefeated and state championship teams, both with high-profile Division-I talent and both with different strengths: Skyline with a monster offense, Bellevue with a suffocating defense.
The reality: It’s not going to happen. Zero chance. And it’s not because the two teams don’t want to play.
“He’s not opposed to playing,” Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said of Skyline coach Mat Taylor. “We’re certainly not opposed to playing. But it’s never going to happen.”
There are just too many complications in the WIAA’s eyes.
For starters, winter sports have already started and many football players also play other sports. The risk of a player getting injured in a (somewhat) meaningless game is a real possibility. And, lastly, if the WIAA lets Bellevue and Skyline football play an extra game like this, don’t they have to let other sports who might want to do the same?
“There’s no desire to do that for two schools let alone one sport because then you have to have all kinds of parameters to do it for other sports,” WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said. “So, no, it’s not happening.”
The idea picked up more steam on Monday morning when KJR morning host Mitch Levy started proposing the two teams play to finish off this season. He said he could raise money from local business associates to make the game happen and said it would be good for the state of Washington. And there’s no denying it would shine a spotlight on the state.
It’s an interesting idea, and a fun one to think about. Both teams went 14-0 this season, and I’ve constantly heard people clamoring for the two schools to play this year.
In fact, Skyline and Bellevue looked at playing each other this season, but Bellevue had a game against Trinity in Week 1 and Skyline had a game on ESPN against Cottonwood from Utah in Week 2, and the two sides couldn’t make it work.
The WIAA is in the early stages of arranging for the teams to play next year in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic, which will either be played at CenturyLink Field or Husky Stadium. That, of course, will do little to settle the debate this year about which team is better: The Max Browne and Peyton Pelluer-led Skyline or the Myles Jack and Sean Constantine-led Bellevue?
So I’m here to help settle the question – or simply add fuel to the fire.
Why Skyline would win:
The Spartans have offense is just too explosive. They scored more than 50 points nine times this season. Averaged more than 50 points per game. Max Browne, a USC commit, threw for more than 4,000 yards and 49 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Plus, running back Cedric Cooper might be the best back Skyline has had in a long time. Bellevue’s defense is good, but the unit has never seen a quarterback like Browne or an offense like Skyline’s.
Why Bellevue would win:
Bellevue’s defense is simply too dominant, while the Wolverines’ offense is just too tricky. The Wolverines allowed 72 points all season. 72. That’s outrageous, regardless of whom you play. And Bellevue played some good teams. The Wolverines’ offense is filled with experienced players who know exactly how to run Goncharoff’s wing-T, and it could provide problems for a Skyline defense that was solid but not outstanding this season.
Quarterback Max Browne vs. Linebacker Myles Jack: This matchup alone would be the price of admission for this hypothetical game. Browne is the state’s career passing leader with more than 12,000 yards. That’s good for eighth-most in a career nationally. Jack had more than 20 sacks this season, terrorizing opponents off the edge and knocking two different quarterbacks out of games. He was the state’s most dominant defensive player.
Both teams played Bothell this season. Skyline rallied from an early 14-0 hole to win 33-21 in the first week of the season. Bellevue beat Bothell 35-7, although the Wolverines took a commanding 35-0 lead before halftime and pulled their starters.
I saw both teams play five times this year. I saw both teams play Bothell in consecutive weeks. I saw both teams twice inside the Tacoma Dome. They both had great seasons, and this is meant as no disrespect to either team, but my pick is…
Bellevue 35, Skyline 28