Skyline presents unique challenges

Draws don’t get much tougher than the one Oak Harbor received for its first-ever state quarterfinal game.

In order for the eighth-ranked Wildcats (10-1) to advance in the 4A state playoffs they will have to get past the state’s top-ranked 4A team, Skyline (11-0), at 7:30 p.m., Friday Nov. 18 in Sammamish.

“They present some unique challenges,” OHHS coach Dave Ward said.

The KingCo champions run a spread offense unlike any other the Wildcats have seen this season.

Spartan quarterback Jason Harris is the key to Skyline’s success. He not only leads the team in passing with 2,057 yards and 26 touchdowns, but is also the top rusher with 549 and 11 TDs.

Harris, a 6-foot-1, 200 pound senior, plays out of a no-huddle, shotgun formation on every play. There are always four wide receivers spread out to the sides and one running back beside Harris. On occasion the Spartans will move their running back out of the backfield and go to a five-receiver set.

“It’s different,” Ward said. “You’ve got to come up with a little different game plan.”

Out of their formation the Spartans will either run the speedy Harris, throw to one of four reliable wide receivers or handoff to running back Matt O’Connell (439 yards, 11 TDs).

Ward said to counter Skyline’s unusual attack, Oak Harbor will attempt to have its fastest people on the field for defense — possibly even some players who haven’t seen much time this season.

He also hopes the offense can hold onto the ball and use as much of the clock as possible. That was key in Oak Harbor’s 42-26 victory over Arlington, which is also a very good passing team.

“If our offense can establish some things and get some first downs we’ll be in good shape,” Ward said.

Skyline has out-scored opponents 455-97 this season. Their closest game was a 20-9 first-round win over Pasco.

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