Local journalists called this one the biggest high school football game ever in the Pacific Northwest. How soon they forget. I would give that title to the Bellevue/DeLasalle game of only a few years ago when Bellevue put a stop to the nations longest HS winning streak. Sometimes columnists are a lot like my Golden Retriever...they tend to live in the present.
Being 50 years old and from the Northwest the greatest HS game I have ever seen was the clash of Garfield and Blanchet in the early 1970's when both teams were loaded with division one talent. It didn't have the intrigue of Washington vs California but it had similar talent out on the field featuring future Husky greats like Bruce Harrell and Joe Steele.
I think both HS coaches gave the fans what they wanted and that was to showcase their two QB's to a local crowd of 4,500 and a national TV audience. Both teams should have run the ball more. Skyline had a nice drive in the second half that was based on the run and it looked like they had OC on the ropes at that point.
It all came down to a final drive with Heaps being intercepted after being hit while throwing at the OC 30 with a minute left on the clock. Play selection was a little spotty at the point. OC was tired and Skyline still had time to keep them off balance with a run or two to get it into at least FG territory.
Both QB's lived up to the hype even though they made mistakes and had interceptions. You can see why both of them were coveted by most of the schools in the country. Despite the hype it was a typical HS game with the ball squirting out here and there while players left everything they had out on the field. I expected a cleaner game because Heaps and Montana were intercepted more than most expected them to be all season in a single evening.
QB Jake Heaps: Jake has been through a litmus test of different camps over the past three to four years and most experts feel he is the top HS QB in the country. I was impressed by his arm strength and release. He threw a couple of frozen ropes last night which caught my eye. Is he the best HS QB I have ever seen? I would have to say no based on last nights game. However I see the potential that everyone see's. I realize the combination of not feeling well due to the flu, playing a national opponent, and being on television took a bit of a toll as it would for anyone his age. He didn't have the tools around him that OC did. Having a blue chip RB can really help your offense. I do think the will have a wonderful career at BYU and he will compete for a Heisman once he matures.
WR Kasen Williams: I thought Kasen was the best athlete on the field last night. The Junior has an ideal combination of size, speed, and athleticism. He runs very well and has solid routes for a kid his age. The scary thing is all he is going to do is get better. He would look great in purple and gold. I wouldn't be surprised to see Williams earn five stars as a top 50 recruit next season. The only knock on him last night was not fielding a punt late in the game that he should have which was more of a brain cramp than anything.
OT Jase Butorac: He didn't have a good game and was overpowered by OC. He didn't look the part of a Pac 10 player to me and I can see why Washington didn't offer him. He is headed to BYU as a package deal with Jake. Not sure how he projects over 4-5 years but he looked more like a Big Sky talent to me.
DT Cassius Marsh: When Marsh wasn't rolling around on the field in pain he looked like a player who lived up to his hype. He blew up the Skyline offensive line early in the game. Hugh Millen questioned his toughness on the radio when he said he looked like a soccer player taking a flop out there when he was hurt. Like a lot of OC players he played both ways which contributed to fatigue as the game wore on.
WR Alani Fau: He will be joining Jake at BYU next year. He is a good receiver but not a great receiver. To me Kasen Williams was in an entirely different league.
OT Erik Kohler: He had a solid game and definitely looks the part of a top rated lineman. He still has some baby fat to work off when he gets to UW but I can see him being a potential four year starter after redshirting the first season. Hugh Millen actually liked him better on defense. He was the best lineman on the field on either side of the ball last night.
LB Zac Stout: I thought he had a good game. I didn't focus on him as much as I would have liked to since there was a lot of Division One talent on the field for every play. The camera work wasn't exactly NFL quality. All the LB's for OC had a good game. He joins Jake at BYU next season. He definitely has Pac 10 type potential.
RB Malcolm Jones: Jones didn't impress most onlookers early in the game but he wore Skyline down as the evening progressed. Like all great backs he gets better as the game goes on. If you want to pick an MVP from last it was him. He was the difference in the game. What I found most impressive about him was his Ken Griffey like lower body. Anyone who saw the "Kid" when he was around 19 years old likened him to a Centaur which is half horse and half man. Jones has that type of lower body which should translate into an NFL career 4-5 years from now if he stays healthy.
QB Nick Montana: He was the winner last night. He had better overall numbers than Jake and his team won the game. He throws on the run extremely well and had better arm strength than I thought but he doesn't have the zip yet that Jake does. He looked the part of a leader last night and he is a very good playmaker. One thing he did better than Jake did last night is create things mid range. Nick is a kid that will definitely need a redshirt year to grow another inch, put on some weight, and gain strength. From a body perspective he reminds me a little of former Husky QB Tim Cowan who I saw in the parking lot last weekend.
Nick is more mobile than Heaps was last night. He doesn't have Locker like wheels (few do) but he is able to sort himself out very well in traffic. I keep saying Heaps had the stronger arm but Nick went deep well also when needed. Montana made a wise choice in his decision to come to Washington. He is a very coachable kid who will blossom under Sarkisian.
A lot of folks out there who watched his dad Joe play in HS and college say they are pretty similar at this stage. Joe also needed to grow and mature once he reached Notre Dame.
Nick and the OC players noticed and mentioned all the purple up in the stands and were appreciative of the support.