Skyview to host Camas in 4A Greater St. Helens League matchup
The adrenaline rush of Friday nights, playing football under the lights has quite the draw.
A little more than a year ago, Jake Kennedy was a baseball player who also played football for the Skyview Storm.
Then he got a taste. Just a taste of Friday Night Lights.
For most of his sophomore season, he shared the quarterback duties at the JV level. But he did play a bit on defense on varsity.
That did it.
“There is no comparison,” he said.
That’s when he knew he wanted more, more than just a few plays here and there.
This past offseason, he became a football player.
His commitment to the game, to the workout schedule, to becoming a leader impressed the coaches. No more sharing. Jake Kennedy earned the starting quarterback position.
“It’s amazing,” he said of playing high school football with the Skyview Storm. “I used to always go to the games, just watching, just hoping it would be me when I was older. It’s like a dream come true, I guess.”
Sure, he dreamt it, but by his own admission, he did not really go after that dream until recently.
“The beginning of sophomore year, I didn’t take it as seriously,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t go to the summer workouts. I skipped a few spring ball practices because of baseball. This year, I skipped baseball to go to spring (football), do all the summer workouts, to put the work in to try to get that starting spot.”
Skyview coach Steve Kizer knows his football program got the better end of that schedule conflict with baseball.
“He’s getting a good grasp of the offense. He’s not turning the ball over. He’s making good decisions,” Kizer said in typical Coach Speak.
Then he added the intangible:
“He’s got the respect of the kids,” Kizer said. “He’s leading us.”
Skyview is on a five-game winning streak heading into Week 7. The Storm will host Camas at 7 p.m. Friday night at Kiggins Bowl in the opener of the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League. It is the game of the year … at least so far … for both teams.
The Storm believe they’ve got a shot to end years of frustration. One of the reasons for that optimism is the play of their quarterback.
Kennedy is completing 61 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdown passes. He averages 179 yards per game, but that is a bit misleading. Skyview has scored 48, 51, and 41 points in the last three games. The Storm aren’t throwing the ball all four quarters.
Kennedy is a dual-threat, as well. In fact, Kizer said he knew he had someone special the first time he saw Kennedy scramble out of the pocket during a team drill.
“When he took off running, we couldn’t touch him on defense,” Kizer said. “He got loose, he took off, and he was faster than anybody on the field.”
Kennedy is Skyview’s second leading rusher this season. He also has rushed for five touchdowns.
On Friday, Kennedy will get his first shot at beating Camas as a starting quarterback. Gotta go back to 2011 the last time Skyview beat Camas, and that was when Camas was still a 3A GSHL team. There was one year when the two teams faced each other twice — once in the state playoffs. Didn’t matter. Camas got that extra win, too.
Is this the year Skyview breaks through against the Papermakers?
“Our team is going to have to do as we’re coached,” Kennedy said. “Do what we do in practice, and I think we can be successful.”
The Storm are riding a five-game win streak after losing the first game of the year to Oregon traditional power Jesuit. That was a three-point loss from a first-year starter on a young team. Skyview has two starting sophomores on the offensive line and the team’s top receiver, Gavin Packer, is a sophomore.
“The Jesuit game, even though we lost, was one of my favorite games,” Kennedy said, noting how special it was to get his first varsity start.
“It’s OK to make mistakes,” Kennedy said. “If you bounce back from them, you can learn and execute better the next time.”
The result also mattered to the Storm.
“Obviously we wish we would have won, but it did show us what high school football is all about,” Kennedy said.
It is about making a commitment to the team long before the season officially starts. It’s about the offseason program. The weights. The sprints. It is all of that.
And those who commit get to perform in front of family and friends under those magical lights on Friday nights.
Jake Kennedy realized all of this, then made it happen.
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