Mat Taylor felt like he had already seen this game.
As Woodinville came within a touchdown of Skyline in the final two minutes, then recovered an onsides kick in the Class 4A football state semifinal, the Spartans coach couldn’t help but recall a playoff game from 2010.
“Oh, I was terrified,” he said. “It was a lot like last year against Curtis (in the semifinals). You think you have the game wrapped up, here they come.”
Just like last season, Skyline held off a late charge, emerging with a 26-21 win over second-ranked Woodinville Saturday afternoon at the Tacoma Dome.
The Spartans (10-3) will meet the winner of Lake Stevens-Skyview in the state finals at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
Last fall, Curtis put a scare into the Spartans, scoring a touchdown in the final minute of the contest and going for the two-point conversion. The conversion failed and Skyline held on for a 35-34 win.
Woodinville came close to winning, too.
Trailing 26-14 with three minutes left in the game, the Falcons went 67 yards in eight plays. Quarterback Brett Arrivey found Beau Vintertun for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 remaining. Connor Zaback’s extra-point kick made it 26-21.
Woodinville’s Park Moore recovered the onsides kick and the Falcons (12-1) took over at their own 45. Arrivey connected with Vintertun for a 46-yard gain on second down, putting Woodinville at Skyline’s 14.
“Those guys didn’t give up,” Taylor said. “They kept fighting.”
After a penalty, two incomplete passes and a 4-yard run by Arrivey, the Falcons faced fourth-and-11 at the 15. Arrivey’s pass to Vintertun fell incomplete, sealing Skyline’s seventh trip to the state finals since 2004.
The Spartans have won nine of their past 10 games in the Tacoma Dome, making it something of a second home.
“We’re comfortable (playing here),” quarterback Max Browne said, “but that last one was too close.”
Browne completed 22 of 31 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Arrivey was 24 of 36 for 279 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter.