Skyline Survives in Shootout with Lake Stevens
By Steve Dion
The nightcap of semifinal Saturday at the Tacoma Dome would pair Skyline and Lake Stevens with a ticket to the 4A championship game next week on the line. Heading into the contest, both teams were aware that Gonzaga Prep earned their berth to the title game earlier that afternoon. Which team would set their date with the Bullpups for next Saturday?
The back and forth affair began early when Viking quarterback Jacob Eason connected with Riley Krenz for a fifteen yard score. Without skipping a beat, Sparty gave their rebuttal in the form of an 81 yard Danny Sinatro catch and run. The first of many botched extra points for both teams occurred on this Skyline touchdown. The floodgates opened at this point as the high-scoring shootout was underway. The quarterback clash between Blake Gregory and Jacob Eason took center stage. Gregory was allotted half as many pass attempts with a dozen as Eason threw twenty-four times, but trailed in passing yards slightly at 244 to 252 and matched in touchdowns with one apiece. The running attacks were nearly identical in the first half with Rashaad Boddie and Andrew Grimes recording 10 and 12 runs for 34 and 38 yards respectively. Two plays that stood out in the first two quarters was an Eason pass in which he rolled out toward the sideline, bought time, and at the very last moment before taking a big hit zipped the ball to a receiver on the other side of the field for a big gain. Also, Boddie hauled in a fingertip catch along the sideline which set up his touchdown that garnered many “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. Everyone in attendance was in store for an exciting finish.
Lake Stevens opened the second half with a seven-play eighty yard drive in less than three minutes culminating in a Asi Tupua run from two yards out. The extra point was blocked and instead of a four point lead for the Viks, they only led by a field goal at 27-24. Skyline gained the lead on a Bradley Kim reception from Gregory which required fantastic improvisation and vision, but Grimes captured a 34-30 edge shortly thereafter which held into the final quarter.
Midway through the fourth frame, Gregory struck once again on his brilliant game under center as he found Kim to give Sparty a 37-34 advantage. With less than three minutes remaining, it was gut check time for Lake Stevens. The purple and black were marching down the field when on a Skyline blitz, Eason was forced out of the pocket. Harry Reed and Joseph Chauvin bottled up the big quarterback and the ball fell to the turf. Skyline’s Alex Diegel jumped on the football and the official indicated the ball was heading the other way. The Viking defense was able to stave off enough offense in the ensuing drive to give themselves one last shot with less than a minute remaining. Three unsuccessful deep throws put the game on one last play. Eason drops back, fires to the right corner of the endzone. Intercepted by Noah Park! The Skyline sideline flooded onto the field thrilled to be victorious in a memorable game that places them forty-eight minutes from a state championship.
When asked where this game ranks among games Coach Taylor has been involved with, he simply replied, “It’s right up there!” In regards to his quarterback Blake Gregory, Mat said “hopefully this game will get on video for more college coaches to see” as his signal-caller has proven great ability and decision-making throughout his Spartan career. Skyline will play Gonzaga Prep for the 4A title next Saturday.
The Final Score:
Skyline 37, Lake Stevens 34
Blake Gregory- 22/28, 436 yards, 3 TDs, 13 rush, 54 yards, TD
Bradley Kim- 2 receptions, 47 yards, 2 TDs
Jacob Eason- 32/42, 390 yards, 2 TDs
Andrew Grimes- 24 rush, 157 yards, TD
Riley Krenz- 12 rec, 173 yards, TD