Skyline defense faces another test in Klein Oak


7 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium

What: Class 5A Division I Region II semifinals game

When we saw them last: Skyline beat one of its toughest opponents to date in a 41-31 win over DeSoto. Quarterback DeVante Kincade came up huge for the Raiders, going 15-for-21 for 264 yards passing and picking up 92 yards rushing for three scores. Skyline’s defense was key, stopping DeSoto on fourth down twice. Klein Oak jumped on Austin Westlake early and kept possession throughout the second half to pick up a 38-28 win.

Last in the playoffs: Skyline's win last week was retribution for a 38-0 thumping DeSoto put on the Raiders last season in the area round. Klein Oak was also bounced from the playoffs in the area round by the team that would eventually knock off DeSoto in the state semifinals, Round Rock Stony Point.

What’s at stake: The winner will take on the victor of Saturday’s regional semifinal between Mesquite (7-5) and The Woodlands (11-1) in the 5A Division I state quarterfinals.

Key matchup: Skyline’s defense has been flawless this season in getting stops in clutch situations. Klein Oak rolls into Waco with a powerful, balanced offense that will keep Skyline on its toes, but it shouldn’t be any more potent than what the Raiders saw against DeSoto. If Skyline LB Peter Jinkens and his defense make plays on third and even fourth down, the Raiders will keep control.

Players to watch: Without QB Kincade, Skyline’s offense doesn’t function like the well-oiled machine it has been this year. He has always been a threat to break off a huge run on the ground, but he can now can make every type of pass needed to be a gun-slinging pocket passer. His talent alone makes him the prime target of the Oak defense. That opens up space for David Greene and Ellis Onic, among other running backs, to move the ball off the read option and provides room for wide outs Rashaad Samples and Thomas Jonson to do work in the secondary, catching passes off play action. Look for Oak to put pressure on Kincade from the outside, blitzing DB Austin Ondrej who leads his team with six sacks this season. Oak QB Connor McQueen has thrown for 2,050 yards and 16 touchdowns, hitting his favorite target Tuff McClain 59 times for 976 yards and nine touchdowns. McClain averages 97.6 yards-per-game.

Prediction:Skyline 37, Klein Oak 24