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Here’s some info on Skyview football

This isn’t Skyline, it’s Skyview - from Vancouver - a first time state football semifinalist and Ferris’ foe Saturday, 1 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium. The team outscored previously unbeaten Auburn 34-21 last Friday. I’ll learn more as the week goes on, but here’s a story from the Columbian for your interest:

Unprecedented.

Landmark.

Ground-breaking.

The Skyview Storm have advanced to the Class 4A state football semifinals for the first time in the program’s history.

And that word — history — kept coming up Friday night after the Storm ruled the fourth quarter with two touchdowns, beating Auburn 34-21 at Kiggins Bowl in the quarterfinals.

“Our motive tonight was to make history. We all want to be remembered,” said wide receiver Karl Graves, who caught eight passes for 108 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown from tailback Matt Spears with 11 minutes left in the game.

“We came out and gave it our best.”

And their best Friday means this is the best team Skyview has ever fielded. The Storm reached the quarterfinals in 2006, but this 2009 team will be the first to play in the semis. Skyview will travel, most likely to Yakima or Spokane, to face the winner of today’s quarterfinal between Ferris and Eisenhower.

“This means the world. This is history,” added wide receiver Ian Zarosinski, who had six catches for 86 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown from quarterback Austin Dodge.

“It’s such a great moment. I’m so overwhelmed with happiness right now,” defensive lineman Dallin Shirley said. “All of us have been working so hard for this moment. I’m just proud of everybody for stepping up and finishing this game.”

That was a perfect description for this contest. It was all Skyview in the fourth quarter.

Auburn, behind the running of Alphonse Wade, scored the only touchdown of the third quarter to tie the game at 21.

At the time, the Trojans had 305 yards of offense. Wade would finish the game with 272 yards on 20 carries, but the final four Auburn drives totalled 22 yards, one first down, and three punts.

“They definitely had a lot of size, but we just had more heart,” linebacker Jonny Barrett said. “It definitely showed in those last few series when it was 21-21.”

Skyview would take the lead early in the fourth quarter. Dodge went 4 for 5 for 55 yards on a 65-yard drive, but the Storm went with the trick play to cash in for the touchdown for a 28-21 lead.

“I was just thinking run the whole way, but it was a designed pass (if it was there),” said Spears, who rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown to go with his TD pass. “The safety sucked up. I saw Karl alone in the end zone, and I threw it to the most reliable hands on the team.”

“It was easy,” Graves said of his 7-yard TD grab. “I didn’t know what to do. I freaked out. It was pretty amazing.”

Auburn’s offense went nowhere on its next two possessions, then Skyview went on a clock-chewing, 10-play drive, capped by Dodge’s 1-yard sneak for the 34-20 lead with 57 seconds seconds left in the game.

“We just wanted to put it away,” said Dodge, who was 16 of 24 for 215 yards and a touchdown.

Done.

Skyview’s defense showed progress even before the fourth-quarter dominance. Auburn had 171 yards in the first quarter, taking a 14-6 lead, but was held to 156 yards the rest of the game.

“We were able to watch film of it,” Shirley said of Auburn’s fly offense. “You can’t get perfect by just watching film. It took a couple of reps for us to figure it out.”

Nick Orsi had a sack on his own and teamed with Shirley on another sack. Barrett had a couple of stuffs at the line of scrimmage. He and Henderson made a third-down stop to force a punt in the fourth quarter. And Nolan Stitzel had a sack for the Storm, as well.

The Storm ended up giving up a lot of yards, but they also made the plays to stop drives, to get Skyview’s offense back on the field.

“This is just amazing,” Orsi said. “This is my first year on varsity, and I’m just really glad to be working with these guys.”

The Storm did not fall too far behind in that opening quarter because Ellis Henderson got his one — and only — opportunity to return a kickoff. He was never touched during a 97-yard return for a score to make it 7-6 after Auburn scored on its opening drive.

The Trojans responded with another touchdown drive to make it 14-6.

Skyview, though, cut the lead to one on Dodge’s wide receiver screen pass to Zarosinski. And after Skyview recovered a fumble, Spears scored on a 6-yard touchdown run for Skyview’s first lead with 3:47 left in the first half. Henderson would score on a two-point run to make it 21-14.

Wade’s second 62-yard touchdown run of the night tied the game in the third quarter, but the Skyview proved to be too strong for the Trojans down the stretch.

“This team has worked so hard for what they just accomplished,” Dodge said. “Playing at home for the last time … there’s just no other feeling like this. I’m just proud to be with this group of guys.”

Skyview coach Steve Kizer enjoyed a little math equation at the end of the night.

“There are 79 4A teams in the state, and there are four left, and we’re one of them,” he said. “I’m really proud.”

But this was still more of a history lesson than a math class for the Storm.

Henderson said this has been the goal since the day after the team lost to Rogers last year in the first round of the state playoffs. First, get the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League championship, and then keep playing.

“We wanted to get league, but this, to me, is 10 times better,” Henderson said. “And for the team, it feels a million times better. It’s the ultimate goal, and we just want to keep going.”


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