TACOMA--Exhausted from a long night certain to be made even longer, members of the Skyline Spartans lay on the Tacoma Dome turf, gazing skyward past the roof.
Maybe the No. 2 Spartans, fresh off an electrifying 42-30 win over No. 4 Lakes for the Class 3A state football championship, were reflecting on the four years it took them to go from winless to perfect.
Or maybe thoughts were of the night one year ago when they watched KingCo 3A rival Sammamish in the title game. Or injured teammate Tim Hulet, who was taken off the field on a stretcher with a compound fracture of his left leg, minutes after tipping a Matt Griffith pass that turned out to be an interception at a key moment. "We've come from literally nothing," Spartan Coach Steve Gervais said. "They've taken themselves to a state championship. I tried to impress on them that playing in the state-title game is nothing unless you win."
Win the Spartans (13-0) did, behind quarterback Mitch Browne's 17-for-25, 251-yard passing performance and a combined 287 receiving yards from seniors Bret Stray, Bryan Swanson and Kyle Snell.
Browne and Snell stood shoulder to shoulder with wide grins, mugging for cameras after the game. Snell was the picture of a battle-weary warrior, his eye blackened and streaks of grime and blood on his jersey.
"The first half we went out strong, and in the second half, we couldn't allow them any more momentum," Browne said. "We knew we had to outscore them."
Skyline jumped out to a 21-3 lead, Lakes climbed back into the game led by the running and receiving of Division I prospect Reggie Williams, the passing of quarterback Matt Griffith and the cutback runs of sophomore Akeem Anthony. The 6-foot-5 Williams, said to be the most prized college wide-receiver recruit in America, shined for the statewide television audience with eight catches for 151 yards and seven carries for 78 yards.
Lakes (12-1) made one final furious run to cut the Skyline advantage to five at 35-30 with 2:41 to play. Griffith, who had 335 yards passing but had three passes intercepted, ran 1 yard for a touchdown.But on the Spartans' next possession, Browne lofted a third-and-long pass to Snell, who was in one-on-one coverage. Snell grabbed the ball and ran in for the clinching touchdown.
Said Swanson, "To go undefeated in my senior year, there's nothing like it."
Skyline 14 14 7 7 -- 42
Lakes 3 14 7 6 -- 30
Sky--Bret Stray 6 run (Danny Anderson kick)
Lak--FG Scott Lawson 34
Sky--Simi Reynolds 37 run (Anderson kick)
Sky--Bryan Swanson 35 pass from Kyle Snell (Anderson kick)
Lak--Lawson 30 pass from Matt Griffith (Lawson kick)
Lak--Reggie Williams 4 run (Lawson kick)
Sky--Swanson 15 pass from Mitch Browne (Anderson kick)
Lak--Raheem Billingsley 15 pass from Griffith (Lawson kick)
Sky--Snell 13 run (Anderson kick)
Lak--Griffith 1 run (run failed)
Sky--Snell 48 pass from Browne (Anderson kick)