Skyline Spartans head football coach Mat Taylor was in constant motion during the fourth spring practice football session of 2017.
Taylor moved from position group to position group offering guidance and words of expertise to a sizable contingent of Spartans football players with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s on June 6 at Skyline High School in Sammamish. Skyline stalwart offensive/defensive lineman Matthew Cindric was glad to be back on the field with his teammates.
“It is always fun to be out here. We got a new group of guys and we’re all excited. We think are going to have a great year and we think we can take it all the way this year. If we continue to put in the work and gel as a team, I think we can. It will be fun for sure,” Cindric said.
The Spartans, who finished the 2016 season with an overall record of 9-3, lost to the Camas Papermakers in the 2016 Class 4A state quarterfinals. With a new season kicking off the first Friday of September, the Spartans are focused on making this season count. Taylor said there is currently a competition taking place to see who will be the starting quarterback when his team takes the field for the opener against the Mount Si Wildcats on Sept. 1.
Skyline quarterbacks Joe Green, Eddie Rosemont and Blake Lees are the three signal callers vying for the coveted starting spot under center.
“All of them are great. Whoever is back there we will support no matter what,” Cindric said.
While the Spartans advanced to the Class 4A quarterfinals last season and the state championship game two seasons ago, Taylor and his staff are completely focused on what this year’s team can do.
“You protect the tradition but the bottom line is we are only going to be as good as team 21 [2017 season is 21st year of Skyline Spartans football] allows us to be. Right now it feels like the fourth practice. Right now it’s just reinforcing what the older kids know and the younger kids are learning what it means to be a Spartan,” Taylor said. “That is what is so great about going to team camp. When we go to team camp we will get to go against some other people and have some fun with it.”
Skyline will participate in team camp from June 28 through July 1 at Evergreen State College in Olympia. Taylor is excited about having Cindric anchor the Spartans offensive and defensive lines. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 270-pound Cindric is known for imposing his will on players lined up in front of him.
“Matthew Cindric has got a chance to be very very special,” Taylor said. “The unique thing about him is when coaches come to recruit him, they don’t know if they want to recruit him as an offensive lineman or defensive lineman. He is that good. He is really going to have a fantastic senior year. He has been working his tail off.”
Taylor said Cindric, who suffered a broken thumb in the third quarter of a 42-35 triple overtime loss to the Woodinville Falcons last season, is a difference maker.
“If he hadn’t gotten hurt against Woodinville, I don’t think they would have had a chance to comeback in that game. When he [Cindric] went out that is when they were able to run the ball. He is that big of a force,” he said.