Skyview coach Wade Marcuson felt like a silver-thirsty angler who just landed a pink salmon Friday after his team's 27-0 nonconference thrashing of Seward at Skyview High School.
Marcuson got what he was looking for -- a victory -- just like the angler got what he was looking for -- a fish.
But just like the angler was dissatisfied with the poor eating and lackadaisical fight of his catch, Marcuson was not happy about the fumble- and penalty-filled nature of his victory.
"In the conference this year, it doesn't look like there's going to be a dominant team," said Marcuson after his team improved to 1-1 overall. "It's going to come down to who works the hardest and makes the fewest mental mistakes.
"We had too many mental errors tonight. This would not have cut it against Soldotna."
The Panthers, who open up their Northern Lights Conference schedule Friday against the rival Stars, had 11 penalties for 95 yards and fumbled five times, losing two, against the Seahawks (0-2 overall).
All the mistakes didn't come back to hurt the Panthers because they were facing a Seward team that's even shorter on experience than they are.
The Seahawks lost 17 to graduation, including nine starters on offense and eight on defense, while Skyview lost 21 to graduation, including nine on offense.
"We don't have too much experience on the line and we don't have the athletes we've had in the past, either," Seward coach Dan Bohrnsen said. "We're pretty much like a JV team right now."
The Seahawks committed 11 penalties for 98 yards and had trouble executing on offense all evening, netting only two first downs and 12 yards.
Meanwhile, Skyview piled up 186 yards on the ground and 156 through the air. Junior Travis Endsley led all rushers with 148 yards on 26 carries, while senior Ian Leach caught four balls for 111 yards and quarterback Eli Evenson was 8-for-16 with two touchdowns.
"We did some good things on offense, but we made too many mental errors," Endsley said. "We can't do that against SoHi."
Endsley played a major role in Skyview's first scoring drive, which lasted for 5 minutes, 8 seconds, and covered 71 yards. Endsley rushed nine times for 36 yards during the drive, which ended with Evenson scoring on a 3-yard plunge with 11:56 left in the second quarter.
Endsley found the end zone on a 27-yard run with 8:57 left in the second before the Panthers finished off a 20-point third quarter in dramatic fashion.
Skyview was on Seward's 35-yard line facing a fourth-and-six with 12 seconds left on the clock. Evenson faded back in the pocket, received excellent protection and checked off his primary receiver before hitting Leach, who was running a flag route, for a touchdown.
"Eli and I have been practicing a lot getting our timing down," Leach said. "He knew exactly where I was and got me the ball.
"The line did a great job protecting him on that one."
Bohrnsen was not nearly as enthusiastic about the play.
"It just shows our inexperience," he said. "We had a timeout before the play and I told our corners to play 20 yards back."
Leach and Evenson hooked up again on a 47-yard strike in the third quarter to complete the game's scoring. On the play before, Skyview ran a handoff to Endsley and noticed nobody followed Leach when he went in motion to the far right side.
After noting, "Jeez, he's all alone," Marcuson called the exact same formation the next play and Leach had an easy touchdown.
"When I heard that play called in the huddle, I knew it was going to be big," Leach said.
Seward's closest brush with the end zone came when Darian Draper returned a kickoff 74 yards to Skyview's 16-yard line in the third quarter.
PANTHERS 27, SEAHAWKS 0
Seward 0 0 0 0 --0
Skyview 0 20 7 0 --0
Sky -- Evanson 3 run (Endsley kick), 11:56
Sky -- Endsley 27 run (kick failed), 8:57
Sky -- Leach 35 pass from Evanson (Endsley kick), :07
Sky -- Leach 47 pass from Evanson (Endsley kick), 4:59
First downs 2 17
Rushes-yards 26-(-6) 48-186
Passing yards 18 156
Return yards 21 46
Passing 3-13-0 8-17-0
Punts-avg 9-33.6 5-37.4
Fumbles-lost 2-1 5-2
Penalties-yards 11-98 11-95
Rushing -- Seward: Buchanan 7-7, Draper 4-11, Boyle 9-(-34), Davis 5-9, Miolla 1-1. Skyview: Martin 4-16, Reilly 7-28, Endsley 26-148, Leach 1-5, Evenson 9-(-12), Quelland 1-1.
Passing -- Seward: Boyle 3-13-0-18. Skyview: Evenson 8-16-0-156, Quelland 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- Seward: Davis 2-8, Draper 1-10. Skyview: Mallett 2-23, Reilly 1-15, Leach 4-111, McGarry 1-7.
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