In a suspense-filled overtime battle Saturday, the Skyline Spartans emerged victorious with a 25-22 close call over the Puyallup Vikings in postseason play.
Receiving the opening kick-off, Skyline wasted no time scoring a rushing touchdown with an impressive 61-yard run that set the tone for the game. Demonstrating that they were in it to win it, the Spartans played aggressively from the start, executing a successful 2-point conversion when quarterback Michael Grimmer lobbed a pass to Hunter Hixon in the end zone for the 8-0 advantage.
Realizing they would need to match the aggressive Spartan pace, the Vikings stood their ground, while making several attempts to score. But they could not answer before the buzzer ended the first quarter.
Knowing they needed something to stay in the fight, Viking Kaden Rolfsness pulled down a crucial 14-yard reception that secured Puyallup’s first touchdown of the game in the second quarter for a close 8-7 score.
The Spartans responded immediately with a long bomb to wide receiver Luke Morgan. As the midday sun cast a shadow across the field, a hand-off to Eli Holman put another six points on the board for the Spartans with an inspiring 28-yard run into the end zone and a 15-7 advantage.
With time ticking down toward the halftime break, Puyallup’s quarterback, Brayden Paulino, mimicked the previous Skyline strategy with a long pass to Nick Neil to put the Vikings on the 26-yard line. Another short 5-yard pass to Kaden Rolfsness allowed Puyallup to answer the Spartan touchdown and close the gap with a tight 15-14 halftime score. It was anybody’s game.
The third quarter opened with an unsuccessful-on-downs Viking possession, forcing a punt to an anxious Spartan offense. The Skyline possession paired with the always-in-sync teamwork of Grimmer to Morgan proved fruitful once again, with a 45-yard pass in the end zone and a 22-14 lead for the Spartans.
Adding insult to injury, Spartan Alexander Herman Tucker recovered a Viking fumble on the 31-yard line that ended the quarter with zero hope for Puyallup to add to their score.
In keeping with the “mimic the other team’s play” theme of the day, the fourth quarter saw the Vikings recover a Spartan fumble, giving Puyallup the spark they needed. Now, within striking distance, Rolfsness carried the ball into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and a score of 22-20. The 2-point conversion on a short pass from Rolfsness, now at quarterback, to Kyson Douglas secured the tie just shy of the buzzer, forcing the game into an exciting and unexpected overtime.
With back and forth play and time running out, the Spartans finally managed to bring the ball down field and into field goal range. Skyline relied on the consistent foot of kicker Sean Lee to put them over the top with a 3-point field goal and the 25-22 lead.
All hope was lost for Puyallup when a Skyline interception ended their possession and concluded the tense, close-scoring game.
The Skyline Spartans will face the Skyview Storm in Vancouver, Washington, at Kiggins Bowl stadium at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.