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Originally published Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 11:34 PM

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Max Browne's departure leaves big hole at Skyline

The Spartans have had an embarrassment of riches at quarterback during coach Mat Taylor's five-year tenure.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TACOMA — Mat Taylor admits he's spoiled.

Especially when it comes to quarterbacks.

The Skyline football coach has had two of the best prep QBs in the country during his five years as head coach — Jake Heaps the first two and Max Browne the past three.

Both have been ranked No. 1 at their position. With them, Taylor's teams have captured four Class 4A state championships.

Browne collected his second Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome, leading the Spartans to a 49-24 victory over Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma. He shattered the season passing record with 4,526 yards and set 4A championship-game marks with 384 yards and four passing touchdowns.

Heaps actually quarterbacked the Spartans to three titles, but Steve Gervais was head coach his sophomore season, when they won the 3A crown. Gervais then left to join the staff at Washington, and Taylor was promoted after nine years as an assistant.

So what's next for QB High?

Taylor will find an answer.

"What keeps me going and keeps people going is just us continuing to strive to be better and better," said Taylor, who improved to 63-7. "There is a part of me that is excited to prove we can do this without Max and Jake, because it's not as easy as people think it is."

There doesn't appear to be an heir apparent, but there will be one.

"In the offseason we'll look at our personnel, and if we need to change what we're doing, we'll change what we're doing," Taylor said. "My biggest motto is I don't want to be a square peg in a round hole."

Those surrounding him know he is anything but that.

"Mat is one of the best coaches around," said longtime assistant Tom Collins, who joined the staff in 1998, a year before Taylor. "He's not afraid to do what it takes. He's great to coach for. We get the most out of our kids and we have fun with the kids."

Browne is confident the Spartans can keep the tradition going, thanks largely to Taylor.

"It's definitely comforting knowing, going into a game, we're never going to get out-coached," he said. "We always have an answer for everything. It's awesome having that confidence that every play call is going to work nonstop. It's a special staff we have, and it's a special head coach we have, too."

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