Max Browne leads Skyline past Bothell 34-7 for KingCo 4A title
Browne, the Spartans' USC-bound quarterback, passed for 228 of his 259 yards and all four of his touchdown throws in the first half as Skyline cruised.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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BOTHELL — Skyline quarterback Max Browne jogged off the field, helmet in hand, to the visitor's locker room at Pop Keeney Stadium.
Browne had just guided the Spartans to a 34-7 win against Bothell on Thursday in the KingCo 4A football championship game, and Browne, usually the last player off the field because of media requests, once again was the final Spartan to leave.
If Bothell coach Tom Bainter gets his way, it marked the last time he'll have to watch Browne from the opposing sideline.
"He does everything the way you want your kids to do it," said Bainter, who lost to Browne and Skyline twice this season. "He's so humble. He plays with great poise. He makes all the throws. He's the best.
"One part of me thinks it's fun to be a fan and watch him. The other part is sick and tired of coaching against him. I'll be rooting for him at USC, but he can't get there fast enough for me."
Browne put on another clinic in efficiency against Bothell, completing 20 of 25 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score. In the first half, Browne went 19 for 22 for 228 yards.
"It was mostly just me staying true to my reads and giving the playmakers the ball," Browne said. "Bothell did some good things, but, at the end of the day, we were real crisp on offense. That's the way we have to be from here on out."
A year after not playing in the KingCo 4A championship game before going on to win the state title, the Spartans needed only 20 seconds to set the tone Friday.
Chase Premone opened the game with an 83-yard kickoff return before being dragged down at the Bothell 8. On the first play, Browne hit Peter Stromgren for a touchdown.
Browne then tacked on a 4-yard rushing touchdown and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Stromgren in the first quarter that gave Skyline a 20-0 lead.
"I was just excited to play in this stadium," Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. "I've never played here before, and I think our best football has been when the kids have had to travel to Idaho and to Utah. I just had this feeling the kids were going to get that energy and catch fire."
Browne tacked on two more touchdown passes in the second quarter — a 15-yarder to Jack Valencia and a 19-yard fade pass on third-and-long to Nic Sblendorio — that put Skyline up 34-0 at the half.
Bothell, which played without explosive running back Danny Wilson, managed just 96 yards in the first half. Sam McPherson had a 6-yard touchdown run in the final minutes to avoid a shutout.
Skyline (9-0) wrapped up KingCo 4A's No. 1 seed and will play the final team out of the SPSL in the playoff round of 32. Bothell (5-4) gets the league's No. 2 seed and will play the No. 3 SPSL South team.
"Even though we knew we were playing next week," Taylor said, "we treated this as, 'This is where we start to set the tone.' "