Skyview pulls away in second half to top Battle Ground
It is a resiliency that comes to the forefront, year after year after year for the Skyview Storm.
Every year, they strive for a league championship, the No. 1 seed from the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League..
For a dozen years now, they have fallen short of that goal, often by one game. One tough loss a year is all it takes to end that quest for a league title.
But even after a punch to the gut, the Skyview Storm always bounce back, always show up, and almost always find a way to the state playoffs.
Skyview quarterback Jake Kennedy threw three touchdown passes and ran for another Friday night in a 49-10 win over previously undefeated Battle Ground at Kiggins Bowl. The victory improved Skyview’s record to 7-1 overall, 1-1 in the 4A GSHL. A win next week against Union would likely clinch the No. 2 seed for the Storm heading into the Week 10 state preliminary round.
Friday’s result surprised no one who has been associated with Skyview football through the years.
“We wanted our redemption,” Kennedy said. “This was our redemption game.”
Skyview’s spirits were down last week when Camas got the best of the Storm 21-9.
Skyview coach Steve Kizer must have known what to say, and how to prepare his team, though. After all, he knows Skyview history.
The Storm have made it to the state playoffs — Week 11 or beyond — in each of the last four full seasons, even after not winning a league championship. The 2018 Storm, in fact, finished third in the league yet still bounced back, won the preliminary round game in Week 10, and made it to state.
The 2016 Storm finished second in the 4A GSHL, then went on a long playoff run to the state semifinals. The 2015, 14, and 13 squads finished in third place, yet still managed to get to state.
Skyview refuses to back down, even after defeat.
“We were pretty amped up to play Camas,” Skyview linebacker Kellen Wiggins said. “Things didn’t go our way. It’s always next-game up. In this game you can’t get too high or too low. It took everyone buying into practice.”
Battle Ground was 7-0 and averaged more than 40 points per game. The Tigers scored 10 points in the first half Friday, but then were shut out by the Skyview defense in the second half.
Riley Artis caught all three touchdown passes from Kennedy, including a 65-yard bomb in the second quarter to give Skyview a 21-10 halftime lead.
“Realistically, it was a humbling experience,” Artis said of Skyview’s loss to Camas the previous week. “And that’s what we needed. It just motivated us. You’ve got two options when you take a loss like that. You can fold or you can stand up and be a man.”
Skyview, as its tradition, stood up strong.
“One loss doesn’t define who we are,” Artis said. “We’re going to continue to grind and face whatever we have to face.”
Friday, that was Battle Ground. Next week, it’s Union. And if Skyview can take care of business, the Storm know they will still be in a solid position to make a playoff run.
“If we play Skyview football, I think we have a very good chance,” Kennedy said. “We have a really good group of guys.”
He also wanted to make sure he credited the guys up front for his big night against Battle Ground.
“Shout-out to my O-line,” he said. “They kept me safe.”
Wiggins said this squad has all the ingredients necessary to cook up a long playoff run.
“We have all the guys, left and right, tons of skills, up front, everywhere, for sure,” Wiggins said.
Artis is not into predictions. But he does have faith.
“I’m not a teller of the future, but God is on our side, and we’re going to work hard no matter what,” Artis said.
That sounds a lot like Skyview football.
A tough loss is not a reason to fold.
For Skyview, it is just a motivating factor to improve and prepare for November.
More football: Ridgefield and Woodland both won Friday night in their Class 2A GSHL matchups, setting up a championship game of sorts next week. Woodland and Ridgefield are both 5-1 in league play. The winner will be the league champion. … Mountain View beat Heritage to wrap up the 3A GSHL title with a 4-0 league record. Mountain View plays a non-league game next week. … Camas (2-0 in the 4A GSHL) will face Battle Ground (1-1) next week. Skyview (1-1) takes on Union (0-2).
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