Sometimes its tough to be a running back on one of the best passing teams in the state — but not days like Saturday.
Skyline senior Damien Greene had his biggest performance of the season during the Spartans’ 4A semifinal matchup with Central Valley, totaling 247 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in a 52-17 romp of the Bears.
“It’s great, said a smiling Greene. “Getting back to the Dome’s been our focus all week and we did it in a big way.”
Skyline, which will make its seventh trip to the state semifinals in the last eight years, pounced on the visitors from Spokane and never let up.
Quarterback Max Browne completed a 12-play drive to start the game, connecting with Nic Sblendorio on a 10-yard fade to the left corner of the end zone.
Central Valley countered with a field goal on its first possession, before the Spartans rattled off two second-quarter TDs in a combined 31 seconds.
Browne (15 of 24, 333 yards, 4 TDs) rushed in a 6-yard TD moments after bombing a 74-yard pass to Taggart Krueger. The junior standout then found Greene, who busted loose on an inside screen for a 57-yard TD and a 21-3 lead with 8:42 left in the first half.
Browne and Greene connected once more before the half for a 28-10 lead — this time on a 80-yard screen pass for a touchdown.
“We knew that Central Valley was going to bring a lot of pressure … and we just kind of put the screens right behind them,” Browne said.
Skyline dominated on both sides of the ball in the second half, going on a 24-0 run in the third quarter.
The duo of Browne and Greene started the half off with a bang, connecting for a 27-yard screen pass for a TD — their third hookup of the game. Greene had four catches for 176 yards and six carries for 71 yards.
The Spartans’ defense also held strong, allowing just 78 yards in the second half — most of which came against the second-team defense.
“We’re putting it together on both sides,” head coach Mat Taylor said, noting this was his team’s most complete game. “I’m very proud of our kids and our coaches.”
Two other players threw touchdowns for the Spartans. Trevor Barney took a lateral from Browne and bombed the ball 30 yards to Krueger. Backup Nate Gibson came in later and threw a 12-yard TD to Isaiah Richmond. The Spartans tallied 493 yards of total offense, holding Central Valley to 214.
Saturday’s victory marked the fifth straight win for Skyline, which last lost to Eastlake on Oct. 28. After that defeat, the Spartans put together team T-shirts plastered with the motto “just win” and a list of weeks remaining.
“It starts with the kind of mindset that it doesn’t matter what we did before in the regular season, it’s playoffs, you’ve just got to 6-0,” Browne said. “The mentality is if we play our kind of game, nobody in the state can beat us.”
Skyline (9-3) will face Woodinville (12-0) at 1 p.m., Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.