WASILLA - The Skyview Panthers hit Veterans Memorial Field hungry to make a statement.
Consider the message received.
Sparked by a pair of Albert White touchdown grabs in the first quarter, Skyview stunned the Wasilla Warriors 32-20 in Wasilla Saturday afternoon.
"We have high expectations," Skyview head coach Eric Pomerleau said after the win. "It's good to show up and get it done in the first game."
White snagged the two Jordan Jones touchdown passes and finished with six catches for 121 yards. Jones completed 9 of 19 for 173 and two scores.
Jasen Suonvieri balanced the Panther attack with 178 yards rushing and three touchdowns. The trio helped the small-schools team upset the large-schools opponent, and allowed Skyview record its first win over Wasilla in many years.
"It's great to get a win on the first week," Pomerleau said. "We've got a lot of stuff to work on, but the kids will get better."
Skyview, which returned 17 of 22 starters from a 2010 playoff team, used its experience to take a 26-6 lead into the half.
"That's huge," Pomerleau said of the experience. "It's huge what you can do with the X's and the O's. They don't get confused, they know where to go. Now you can really fine-tune it and make it a lot better. When you don't have to re-teach the play, it just helps a ton."
Pomerleau said the early scores were key to the victory.
The Panthers needed only four plays to take a lead. Less than two minutes into regulation, White caught a 43-yard Jones touchdown pass. Midway through the quarter, White took a Jones pass 29 yards for a score.
The Panthers maintained a lead, thanks in part to a steady dose of Suonvieri, who followed a Skyview offensive front that features five returning senior starters.
"We're going to lean on them big time," Pomerleau said.
Suonvieri scored three times in the win, recording touchdowns of 11 and 5 yards in the first half. He added a 12-yard score in the third.
"You've got to give it to Skyview. They've got a good group of seniors who came out, and have been preparing for a long time for this year," Wasilla head coach Kent Rilatos said.
White stood out on offense, defense and special teams. In addition to the touchdown grabs, White intercepted a pass and finished with more than 100 yards on the kickoff returns.
"He's as good as a player as there's probably been on the Peninsula," Pomerleau said. "And probably one of the best players I've ever coached.
"He's a special player. Any coach would love to have him."
Wasilla's offense stalled early with two first-quarter fumbles, but junior Ben Fielder was able to create a Warriors passing attack. Fielder, who started four games as a freshman but sat out his sophomore year, finished 7 of 21 for 155 yards. He also threw three touchdown passes.
Fielder connected with senior Tyler Anderson five times for 126 yards.
Anderson caught a pair of touchdown passes as the Warriors rallied in the second half. Senior Braydon Kuiper hauled in a 27-yard Fielder touchdown pass in the first quarter.
"There's some exciting things happening out there," Rilatos said.
Rilatos said he feels like the loss is not because of a lack of effort, but mistakes that can be fixed.
"We need to keep on battling," Rilatos said. "We've just got to pull together as a family."
Panthers 32, Warriors 20
Skyview - White 43 pass from Jones (Jones kick) 10:20.
Skyview - White 29 pass from Jones (Jones kick) 5:07.
Wasilla - Kuiper 27 pass from Fielder (kick blocked) 0:06.
Skyview - Suonvieri 11 run (kick failed) 11:31.
Skyview - Suonvieri 5 run (kick failed) 0:12.
Wasilla - Anderson 35 pass from Fielder (Perry kick) 10:08.
Skyview - Suonvieri 12 run (kick failed) 4:06.
Wasilla - Anderson 14 pass from Fielder (Perry kick) 11:16.
RUSHING - Skyview: Suonvieri 30-178, Williams 7-34, J. Jones 7- (-4);
Wasilla: Teeling 18-74, Fielder 6-28, Cullip 3-(-3), Rilatos 2-22, Kuiper
PASSING - Skyview: J. Jones 9-19-1-173; Wasilla: Fielder 7-21-1-155.
RECEIVING - Skyview: White 6-121, Suonvieri 1-21, Pietro 1-21, Reynolds
1-10; Wasilla: Anderson 5-126, Kuiper 1-27, McGregor 1-2.