Max Browne, Skyline seniors leave legacy of dominance and camaraderie
The Spartan offense, led by USC recruit Max Browne, set state records during a 14-0 season capped by the 4A state championship.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TACOMA — Nearly an hour after the game ended, many of Skyline's football players hadn't left the field.
Around 11:30 p.m., a group of five Spartans headed to the 50-yard line, lay down and looked up at the Tacoma Dome's wooden rafters. Quarterback Max Browne was there. So were senior starters Nic Sblendorio, Peter Stromgren, Peyton Pelluer and Trevor Barney.
For years they had worked toward this goal, and they could finally soak it in after a 49-24 win against Bellarmine Prep (12-2) made them Class 4A state champions.
"Throughout the year and tonight," Skyline coach Mat Taylor said, "the message was, 'How could they leave their legacy for this program?' And they did. These kids were so much fun to be around."
Taylor said this wasn't his most athletic team ever. And it wasn't his most talented team across the board. But the Spartans had two things that can go a long way in high school sports: They had played together under the same system for years, and they had Browne leading them on offense.
Both of those factors allowed the Spartans to set a KingCo record with 715 points this season, score more than 50 points nine times and finish with a 14-0 record. Their 49 points Saturday tied a WIAA record for most points in a 4A title game.
"This senior class is just so tight," Taylor said. "Even some of the families were talking before the game and realized there were seven or eight of them that this is their last child and how close they've all become through the years. I'm just emotional because I love all these kids."
Browne certainly didn't put up those numbers alone, but he was Skyline's engine. On the first drive of the game against Bellarmine Prep, Browne hit running back Cedric Cooper for 13 yards. That pass made Browne the state's career passing leader, passing DeSales' Brian Lindgren.
Browne went on to complete 21 of 28 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns, although he did throw his fifth interception of the year in the end zone.
His 384 yards set a record for a 4A title game, as did his four touchdowns. He did all of this with USC coach Lane Kiffin watching inside the Tacoma Dome.
His 12,951 career passing yards rank him eighth all-time nationally, and his 73.5 completion percentage this season is fourth all-time nationally. He finished this year with 4,526 passing yards and 49 touchdowns.
For his career, he threw 146 touchdowns, third all-time in state history.
"It's all about Skyline tonight," Browne said. "This is all I could ask for."
Which is why, after all the interviews and pictures, Browne found his way to midfield with his senior teammates to take in the Tacoma Dome once more.
"I've never laughed so much at practice before, but I also never worried about their intensity," Taylor said. "They were just a driven, driven group."
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com
Bellarmine Prep — Matt Philichi 24 FG
Sky — Trevor Barney 34 pass from Browne (McDonald kick)
Sky — Cedric Cooper 3 run (pass failed)
Sky — safety, ball snapped out of end zone
Sky — Barney 36 pass from Browne (McDonald kick)
Bell Prep — Calvin Chandler 22 pass from Sefo Liufau (Philichi kick)
Sky — McDonald 49 FG
Sky — McDonald 35 FG
Bell Prep — Garrett McKay 6 pass from Liufau (Philichi kick)
Sky — Sinatro 55 pass from Browne (McDonald kick)
Sky — Cooper 1 run (McDonald kick)
Bell Prep — Drew Griffin 24 pass from Liufau (Philichi kick)
|Time of Possession||21:46||26:14|
Rushing — Skyline, Cooper 12-60, Browne 4-19, Gibson 1-3, Valencia 1-2, Sblendorio 1-1, Mach 5-(-3), Barney 1-(-10). Bellarmine Prep, Millie 12-15, Liufau 9-14, Thompson 1-1.
Passing — Skyline, Browne 21-28-1 — 384, Gibson 2-3-0-19. Bellarmine Prep, Liufau 33-45-2 — 376.
Receiving — Skyline, Barney 10-182, Sinatro 4-116, Sblendorio 3-27, Cooper 2-35, Bui 2-11, Lunde 1-18, Miller 1-14. Bellarmine Prep, McKay 11-128, Griffin 10-117, Chandler 10-95, Ogard 1-32, Millie 1-4.