That which does not kill you will only make you stronger or at least the Skyview Panthers football squad is hoping so.
The Panthers absorbed a 51-0 drubbing at the hands of the visiting North Pole Patriots Saturday in a nonconference game at Skyview High School.
Next up for the Panthers is a trip to Wasilla before jumping into Northern Lights Conference play against Kenai.
"It's tough," said Skyview coach Ty Salness, "Kenai, Soldotna and us play three games that are tough before we get into conference play hopefully, we're not too beat up by then.
"But we're having fun. We've got a young bunch, and we'll get better every week."
North Pole (2-0), coming off a Week 1 win over Soldotna, got rolling right away as Marcus Grohman rumbled 44 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
The Panthers came back with enthusiasm as quarterback Kaleb Shields connected with Richard Derkevorkian on passes of 9 and 16 yards right out of the box, but the North Pole line applied its sizable weight advantage along the line to stuff a pair of rushing attempts, and two more passes fell incomplete to end the Skyview drive.
Skyview picked off a North Pole pass to end the Patriots' next drive on the Panthers 5-yard line, and after a three-and-out, held the Patriots on fourth down to take the ball over on downs at the Skyview 42.
Skyview's Linson Lavea deflects a North Pole player in the third period Saturday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Skyview's next possession ended in a punt, but the Panthers picked off another pass, this one by Tyler Wehrli.
However, the Panthers gave the ball right back on an interception as Shields was hit as he stepped up to throw. North Pole's Perry Monzulla scored on a 33-yard touchdown run on the next play, and the Patriots notched touchdowns on their next two possessions Lance Wilson connected with Jason Dahlke on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 9:08 on the clock in the second quarter, and Monzulla rumbled for a 52-yard touchdown with 6:37 left until the half to take a 28-0 lead at the intermission.
The Panthers' best chance to score came on their final possession of the first half. Quarterback Tyler Wehrli, splitting the signal-calling duties with Shields, connected with Corey Fowler for a 52-yard pass play, setting the Panthers up on the North Pole 13-yard line.
The big North Pole line stuffed another running play, though, and Shields, jumping in at quarterback, threw an incomplete pass before being picked off on third down, ending the threat.
North Pole added touchdown runs from Monzulla and Sheyenne Graywood in the second half, as well as a passing touchdown from Chris Powell to Ricky Culver. The Patriots also scored a safety when the Panthers, with their backs to their own goal, snapped the ball out of the end zone on an attempted punt.
North Pole coach Buck Nystrom said his Patriots had taken their share of beating over the past few years, but have developed into a mature and powerful squad.
"It's taken awhile to get here," Nystrom said. "It hasn't been easy, but we're where we want to be. We took some kids out of middle school and we took some poundings, but the kids hung in there and now they're good.
"... The thing we had to do more than anything else was turn the attitude around and learn how to win."
The Panthers find themselves at the beginning of that process, but Salness is confident his team will continue to improve.
"We played them pretty well," Salness said. "We had three or four big plays in the first half, and we missed some passes.
"I was proud of the way we played."
Patriots 51, Panthers 0
North Pole 14 14 14 9 51
Skyview 0 0 0 0 0
NP Grohman 44 run (Powell kick), 11:47
NP Monzulla 33 run (Powell kick), 0:27
NP Dahlke 28 pass from Wilson (Powell kick), 9:08
NP Monzulla 52 run (Powell kick), 6:37
NP Monzulla 43 run (Powell kick), 9:27
NP Culver 33 pass from Powell (Powell kick), 7:02
NP Safety, ball snapped out back of end zone, 7:42
NP Graywood 2 run (Bingaman kick), 4:27
North Pole Skyview
First downs 18 3
Rushes-yards 57-452 19-0
Passing yards 76 100
Return yards 155 18
Passing 4-13-3 11-31-6
Punts-avg 1-34.0 7-30.1
Fumbles-lost 6-3 6-1
Penalties-yards 8-45 8-37
Rushing North Pole: Monzulla 14-226, Grohman 11-99, Graywood 13-65, Spencer 5-45, Wilson 1-15, Dahlke 4-13, Borkovec 4-5, Bingaman 1-(-6), Gipson 4-(-10). Skyview: A. Smith 3-5, Bellinger 5-0, Cleveland 8-(-2), Wehrli 3-(-3).
Passing North Pole: Powell 2-6-239, Wilson 1-5-128, Gipson 1-1-09, Renson 0-1-00. Skyview: Shields 6-19-434, Wehrli 5-12-266.
Receiving North Pole: Culver 2-39, Dahlke 1-28, Graywood 1-9. Skyview: Derkevorkian 6-36, A. Smith 2-4, Fowler 1-52, Schmidt 1-4, Cleveland 1-4.
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