Day After Report: Skyview 31, Sunset 21
By Rene Ferran
For The Columbian
Neither team was in midseason form by any stretch, but the Storm found their form quicker and were able to score 24 consecutive points to put the game away.
They did so by turning to their running game, wearing down the host Apollos in the second half. Skyview gained 188 second-half yards on the ground.
“I think the game plan was to get anything going, and that’s what turned out to be working,” said quarterback Brody Barnum, who ran for 89 of his 104 yards in the second half. “We just kept at it, wore them down. I felt like by the end of the game, we were there, and they were gasping for air. We just kept going, kept pounding it.”
Defense does its job: On the other side, until Sunset’s final drive with the outcome determined, the Storm defense bent but didn’t break after the Apollos took a 14-7 lead 2 minutes into the second quarter.
Three times, Sunset drove into the red zone, only to be turned aside. Once, the Apollos missed a 31-yard field goal; the other two times, the Storm came up with big fourth-down stops.
“Their tempo was hard to duplicate in practice,” said Skyview coach Steve Kizer. “They had those long drives, but we got into game shape and learned their tempo as the game went on.”
The turning point of the game came late in the third quarter, with the Storm leading 24-14 after Barnum’s 30-yard TD pass to Cole Grossman with 4:20 left.
The Apollos answered with an 11-play drive but faced fourth-and-inches from the Storm 18. In the backfield, Storm junior lineman Jevon Kelly lay on the ground with an injury.
“That’s my best friend,” said junior defensive tackle Chyrius Dockett. “I just said, ‘No, no, no.’ I’m going to stick up for him. I’ve gotta take care of my teammates like my brothers.”
In this case, that meant Dockett sticking his 6-foot-4, 315-pound frame right in the path of Sunset tailback Gabe Leonard on the fourth-down play. Dockett, Michael Lundgren, and the rest of the Storm interior defenders swallowed him up at the line, getting Skyview the ball back on downs with 54 seconds left in the third.
Three minutes later, the Storm put the game out of reach on Angelo Sarchi’s 2-yard touchdown run.
Some stats: Dockett led the Storm with seven tackles and a sack. Safety Jovon Sewell added six tackles and an interception, linebacker Chad Eigsti had five tackles and two pass breakups, and linebacker Austin Nolan forced a fumble, recovered another, and also broke up a pass.
Dockett, Eigsti, and Nolan are all juniors, as are Sarchi, Grossman, and RB/DB James Millspaugh (69 rushing yards, TD, three tackles, interception, pass breakup).
“We’re a junior-dominated team right now,” Kizer said. “We’ve got a lot to work on, but I was real proud of our effort tonight.”
Flag on the play: Yellow laundry flew all around Sunset Stadium’s freshly laid turf throughout the game. The teams combined for 22 accepted penalties—12 on the Storm for 131 yards.
“Penalties from here to Tualatin, it seemed like,” Kizer quipped. “We’ll just clean up our mistakes and go from there.”
Border battle: Friday’s game marked the first time the Storm crossed the Columbia to face an Oregon opponent since 2012.
“This is great,” Barnum said. “We’re not in the same league, not even in the same state, so the chance to get to play these guys is great. They’re a great talent, we’re a great talent, and it’s great to compete against someone new.”
With Oregon’s RPI ranking system now giving more weight to out-of-state opponents than previously allowed, and with Washington soon to add its own postseason ranking system, Kizer hopes these matchups can happen more often.
“I love coming across the bridge,” Kizer said. “And I think it’s good for our league.”
Next challenge: Skyview ventures out of the region again next weekend when it travels north to face perennial 3A power Eastside Catholic.
The Crusaders, who won the 3A state title last year, opened their season Friday with a 21-7 win over defending 4A champion Gonzaga Prep.
“We’ll savor this tonight. The work starts tomorrow,” Barnum said. “We’ve got them next Saturday, so we’ve got a little longer to prepare, but I feel like we’ll be ready to go.”
Junior Ze’Shaun Lewis, taking over for Harley Kirsch—who passed for more than 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his career—at quarterback, was 29-of-36 for 325 yards, three TDs and two interceptions vs. G-Prep. Sixteen of those completions went to Hunter Bryant for 139 yards.
“That’s going to be a great challenge,” Kizer said. “We’re hopefully going to improve a lot in practice this week, then go up there and have a great game.”