Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in Washington: No. 38 Skyview Storm

SBLive Washington is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Skyview Storm of the 4A Greater St. Helens League – No. 38 in our countdown.

Editor’s noteThe earliest the 4A GSHL will start a football season is Feb. 22, and that’s if the region moves to Phase 2 by Feb. 15. Skyview is in the Southwest region of Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan. The region is still in Phase 1 of the plan, which means moderate and high risk high school sports (like football) have not been cleared to return to competition.

2019 IN REVIEW

8-3 overall, 3-1 4A GSHL (second place); lost to Woodinville in first round of the 4A state playoffs.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Steve Kiser, 17th season.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Matt Hamlin (Spread). Defense – Ken Wiggins/Steve Kizer (4-3).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

QB Yaro Duvalko

WR Mason Wheeler

WR/DB Cooper Barnum

RB Jalynnee McGee

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 3. Defense – 2.

TOP PLAYERS

S Xavier Owens, 5-9, 160, sr.

WR/DB Brandon Feeney, 5-10, 165, sr.

DT Lorenzo Lombardi-Brannon, 5-9, 250, sr.

WR Caden Vire, 6-5, 180, sr.

WR Teddy Beaver, 5-9, 140, jr.

RB/CB Jaydin Knapp, 5-11, 165, jr.

OL Brett Gray, 6-5, 255, sr.

THREE TO SEE

Brett Gray, lineman

His length and athleticism help him stand out on the field. In the locker room, the Valparaiso signee boasts a quiet leadership.

Lorenzo Lombardi, defensive tackle

He’s been in the varsity rotation for three years now thanks to his strength at defensive tackle. “He has a different kind of punch,” says offensive coordinator Matt Hamlin.

Xavier Owens, safety/receiver

Owens — or as coaches and teammates know him, “X.O.” —  has great ball skills and a high football IQ, which make him an invaluable piece at receiver and in the defensive secondary.

2021 OUTLOOK

Steve Kizer doesn’t need to look far and wide to drum up motivation for his team entering a season devoid of playoffs, a full schedule and any degree of certainty. 

He simply took a cursory look around the 4A Greater St. Helens League — a league responsible for producing three of the last four 4A state championships (Camas in 2016, 2019; Union in 2018).

“Seems like the guy that owns the league, if they don’t win the state, they’re battling in the top four,” Kizer said.

With Camas and Union poised to be strong again, the Storm have a lot to look forward to playing a 3A/4A GSHL schedule.

And they bring back enough leadership to not fret too hard over losing 17 starters from a team that suffered a first round playoff exit at the hands of Woodinville in 2019.

The Storm return leadership and experience in Brett Gray and Western Oregon-bound Xavier Owens, among others (Owens will play strong safety as returner Michael Stromberg recovers from a work-related fork lift accident). 

But they have key questions to answer, like, who will start at quarterback — senior Clark Coleman, who backed up now-Sacramento State QB Yaro Duvalko the last two seasons, or Portland State signee Mason Packer, who transferred from 1A King’s Way in the offseason?

And they will rely on players who were waiting in the wings behind that large senior 2020 class, like speedy wideout Teddy Beavers and 6-foot-5 senior receiver Caden Vire (an Arizona State baseball commit). The two-headed running attack of the versatile Jaydin Knapp and short-yardage bruiser Gabe Martin are also poised for breakout seasons.

But the program boasts stability, thanks to a head coach in Kizer who enters his 17th year at the helm, with previous college coaching experience and a family-like stable of assistant coaches.

COVID-19 IMPACT

“Going back to August, we were all fired up about kicking up and starting. The guys had been lifting, working, we had them in pods, and that hurt when that didn’t happen. … Not being able to do everything with linebackers, inside run has been huge in not being able to get the defense ready.” —Head coach Steve Kizer

2020-21 SCHEDULE – TEAM PAGE

Not yet determined. Will play a combined 3A/4A Greater St. Helens schedule.

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