The Skyview football team had a coming of age on homecoming.
The Panthers defeated Thunder Mountain 27-20 in double overtime Friday in nonconference play at Skyview to earn their first win of the season. Thunder Mountain fell to 3-2 and lost to a medium-schools squad for the first time all season.
“That was the funnest game I have ever played in,” said Skyview junior defensive end and left tackle Sam Deatherage.
Injuries and inexperience hampered the Panthers as they lost their first four games of the season, including a 32-26 defeat at Houston last week that came when the go-ahead touchdown was scored with 30 seconds left.
But Skyview learned from that close loss, and the Panthers also got healthier. Brandon Rice, who had been out since Week 1, led all rushers by finishing with 21 carries for 118 yards.
“The kids are starting to become more mentally tough,” Skyview coach Eric Pomerleau said. “A lot of the kids are new to the varsity and they are learning what it takes to play varsity football.”
Skyview’s mental toughness was tested in a wild finish.
The Panthers were leading 14-7 with 46 seconds to play when the Falcons set up shop on their own 10-yard line with rain starting to pelt from the sky. Quarterback Villi Tupou promptly hit John Jolly on a short swing pass. Joe Ia executed a perfect block and Jolly broke loose for a 90-yard touchdown run. Ben Jahn sent the game to overtime with his extra point.
Pomerleau said there was some defensive miscommunication on the play and took responsibility for that himself.
Thunder Mountain coach Bill Byouer said the Falcons kept that play under wraps until that time of the game.
“We figured that would be the play that could do it,” he said.
As the rain kept falling, the teams headed to overtime. In overtime, each squad get a chance to score from the 10-yard line.
The Falcons got the ball first and Tupou dropped back to pass on first down, then scrambled for a touchdown. Jahn missed the extra point.
The Panthers had been pounding the ball up the middle with increasing success as the game went along. Skyview had 68 rushes for 316 yards, while Thunder Mountain had 31 rushes for 145 yards.
“Our offensive line really started working well together,” Deatherage said.
Pomerleau didn’t try to get fancy. Riley Edwards, who finished with 92 yards on 22 carries, went up the middle for 4 yards. After Rice tripped and was held to no gain, he went around the left end for a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game.
Bailey Jones drilled the extra point for the win, but the Panthers were called for illegal procedure due to not enough players on the line of scrimmage. Once the 5 yards were marched off, Jones missed the game-winner wide left.
“This was a great high school football game,” Byouer said. “It’s about character and morals. My kids all had their heads down after the game, but how many of them had ever gotten a chance to play in a double-overtime game before? None.
“We’ve got a lot to learn from. We’ve got a lot of things on film.”
With mist still streaming from the sky, Skyview got the ball first in double overtime. Pomerleau takes pride in the strength and conditioning program at Skyview, so once again he wasn’t about to get creative. Edwards ran for 2 yards, Rice ran for 2 yards, then Jones, the quarterback who ran for 94 yards and passed for 84 yards, went up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown. This time Jones nailed the kick for a 27-20 lead.
Thunder Mountain tried to answer by starting with a 5-yard run from Tupou. A second-down run went for no gain, then a pass from Villi Tupou to Josh Tupou lost 5 yards. On fourth-and-goal from the 10, Villi Tupou tried to find Jahn in the corner of the end zone. He brought the ball down, but was out-of-bounds.
Moments later, the rain stopped and the sun shined on a homecoming party.
With Edwards, Rice and Jones running the ball, and Jones throwing to Tyler Howell (six catches, 60 yards), Pomerleau said his team is just scratching the surface on offense.
“We still have to clean up some mistakes,” Pomerleau said. “When we clean up those mistakes, we will be a really good team.”
Both teams were hurt by turnovers. Skyview lost a fumble, and Jones threw three interceptions. For the Panthers, Howell had two interceptions, while Justin West and Jones added interceptions.
Turnovers were the reason the first half was scoreless. The Falcons opened up the second half with a scoring drive that ended with a Jolly touchdown run, but Skyview answered with a 63-yard, 14-play drive that culminated with a Jones rushing score. With 10:57 left in the fourth quarter, Edwards scored on a 6-yard run before Jolly’s dramatic score in the final minute.
Panthers 27, Falcons 20, 2 OT
TMHS — Jolly 3 run (Jahn kick), 8:57
Sky — Jones 1 run (Jones kick), 2:00.
Sky — Edwards 6 run (Jones kick), 10:57.
TMHS — Jolly 90 pass from V. Tupou (Jahn kick), 0:32.
TMHS — V. Tupou 10 run (kick failed).
Sky — Rice 6 run (kick failed).
Sky — Jones 6 run (Jones kick)
Rushing — Thunder Mountain: Jolly 16-63, V. Tupou 10-76, J. Tupou 4-14, Jahn 1-(-8). Skyview: Edwards 21-92, Rice 21-118, Collier 4-14, Jones 20-94, Wertz 1-(-2).
Passing — Thunder Mountain: J. Topou 0-1-0—0, V. Tupou 8-17-3—152, Jahn 1-3-1—(-2). Skyview: Jones 8-14-3—84.
Receiving — Thunder Mountain: J. Topou 1-(-5), Jolly 5-118, Jahn 2-29, Ia 1-8. Skyview: Howell 6-60, Collier 1-9, Zimmerman 1-15.