They might be recognized by ESPN and USA Today as one of the top 20 high school football teams in the nation.
Regional and state polls have them ranked as the No. 1 team in Washington.
But there was one thing Skyline head coach Mat Taylor still wanted to see from his team as it entered its week six contest — a mistake free performance.
The Spartans answered their coach’s request Friday night, dominating Plateau rival Eastlake on its home field, 43-7.
“The biggest thing is we really had more of a complete game,” Taylor said. “We didn’t have any of the little mistakes we’ve had in the past, and that’s huge.”
Skyline led Eastlake on its home turf from start to finish, setting the tone on the game’s opening drive by going 81 yards on 14 plays. The series, which ate up nearly 7 minutes of clock, was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jake Heaps.
“We wanted to take the wind out of them early, and we wanted to get after it,” said Heaps, who completed 14 of 30 passes for 265 yards, four TDs and one interception. “Our guys did that.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Eastlake’s Kyle Lappano fumbled the ball into the hands of Quinn Zeger. Three plays later Heaps found wide receiver Kasen Williams on a post route, resulting in 20-yard TD, and a 12-0 lead. After forcing the Wolves to punt on a three-and-out, Skyline struck again.
On a fourth and long from the Eastlake 28, Heaps rolled out to his right, and throwing off his back foot, lobbed the ball over the left shoulder of Williams in the end zone. Heaps then connected with Cooper Pelluer for an 11-yard score and Michael Ford for a 6-yard TD, pushing the lead to 33-0 with 6:48 left in the first half.
“We’re finally clicking,” said Heaps, noting there were some early-season struggles with some of the team’s young wide receivers. “We’re finally on the same page, and we’re finally playing to the level that we should.”
For Eastlake head coach Gene Dales, there was really no answer to Skyline’s pass attack.
“(Heaps) sat back there and had an awful lot of time,” he said. “Our game plan was to bring heat to him, try to get pressure, try to get some hits on him. But they do a great job up front.”
Eastlake finally caught a break with just over 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Punting from their own territory, Skyline’s long snap sailed over punter Sean Penberthy’s head. Eastlake took possession inside the Spartan 10 yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Kelby McCorkle found Ethan Potter open on a play-action pass for an 8-yard TD, leaving the halftime score at 33-7.
Skyline’s defense clamped down in the second half, as it forced two interceptions — including an 85-yard return for a TD by Miles Edwards. Penberthy also added a 21-yard field goal.
The victory pushed Skyline’s record to 3-0 in league and 5-1 overall. The Spartans unquestionably savored Friday’s victory, but next week’s home game against rival Issaquah (3-0, 4-2) was already on their minds.
“I didn’t have to say it,” Taylor said. “When our captains broke the team, they said you’ve got 24 hours to think about this game, then it’s on for Issaquah.”
Heaps, who is 3-0 in his career against Issaquah admitted he was already looking forward to the matchup.
“It’s a game where they have a lot to prove, we have a lot to prove, and it’s going to be a fun game. It always is,” he said.
Eastlake’s loss bumped the Wolves to 0-3 in league and 3-3 overall. They aren’t out of the running for the third and final playoff berth in the KingCo Crest, but Dales knows next week’s game at Newport (2-1, 4-2) is do or die.
“This next week is a huge week for us,” he said, noting there’s a possibility of a three-way tie between Eastlake, Redmond and Newport. “Regardless of what everybody says, if we win that ball game, we’re in a playoff scenario.”