It's said that offense wins games, defense wins championships. If this popular sports aphorism has any merit, the Skyview Panthers and Kodiak Bears may very well meet again in the postseason. Kodiak's 19-0 victory in the game between the two Northern Lights Conference teams Saturday at Skyview can be summed up in a word -- defense.
"Our defense did a wonderful job, outstanding job," said Panthers head coach Jerry Byrne.
"Skyview played us pretty well," said Bears head coach Todd Cook. "Their defense played us pretty well, they stepped it up and I knew they would."
It was a tight first half. The Bears managed 56 yards rushing to the Panthers' 22. Heading into the third quarter, Kodiak led 7-0, courtesy of an 8-yard run by quarterback Kevin Lepola.
"We had a real basic offensive game plan going, and we pretty much stuck to it," Cook said.
At the end of the third, Skyview's Brentton Martin made a costly error. Deep in Skyview territory, Martin fumbled, causing the ball to roll backward into the end zone, where Kodiak recovered it for a touchdown with 2:38 to play in the third quarter.
On their next possession, after running back Bradley Lapp ran for a first down near midfield, Zach Hibberd was hit in the backfield for a loss of 5 yards. On the following play, quarterback Matt Meade called his own number and was hit hard near the sidelines in front of the Panthers bench. He remained motionless after the tackle.
Meade was placed on a stretcher and loaded into a Central Emergency Services ambulance after being attended to by medical staff. According to Byrne, Meade was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital for X-rays and it was revealed that Meade pulled muscles in his neck.
"It's a good thing," Byrne said. "We're all relieved ... that nothing was broken." Byrne said Meade was released from the hospital but doesn't know if he'll be able to play next week.
Early in the final quarter, the Panthers again found themselves pinned deep in their own zone. With 9:49 to play, Martin committed a second fumble in the end zone, which the Panthers pounced on, giving the Bears two points for the safety. Kodiak added a field goal with just under a minute left in the game to give them a 19-0 advantage, which turned out to be the final score.
About getting blanked on the scoreboard, Byrne said, "We just didn't get any blocking on offense."
"We travel on the ferry all the time and it shouldn't affect us but it did," Cook said. "We were extremely flat today at both levels, JV and varsity. We just couldn't get anything going."
Both teams committed several penalties; the Panthers seven and the Bears eight. "The penalties were killing us," Cook said. "It's hard to get a rhythm going when penalties are hitting you that hard.
"I'm happy with the defense and the way they played," he said. "The defense stepped it up and we took advantage of some turnovers."
With the win, Kodiak improved to 2-0 in the NLC and 3-0 overall. Skyview fell to an NLC record of 0-2 and an overall record of 0-3 for the season.
Mike Nesper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bears 19, Panthers 0
Kodiak 0 7 7 5 --19
Skyview 0 0 0 0 --0
Kod -- Lepola 8 run (Terrell kick), 4:21.
Kod -- Dunn fumble recovery (Terrell kick), 2:38.
Kod -- Safety, Skyview recovered fumble in own end zone, 9:49.
Kod -- Terrell 25 field goal, 0:57.
Rushes-yards 43-134 30-11
Passing yards 65 -7
Passing 8-19-0 2-12-1
Penalties-yards 8-75 7-55
Rushing -- Kodiak: Atonio 4-5, Watkins 4-(-4), Anthony 19-70, Gabor 2-2, Lepola 10-43, Bailor 3-43, Martin 1-21. Skyview: Quint 4-1, Meade 3-4, Lapp 11-27, Thornton 2-7, Tennis 3-(-2), Pollard 1-2, Martin 5-(-23), Hibberd 1-(-5).
Passing -- Kodiak: Bailor 2-6-0--14, Lepola 5-12-0--43, Gabor 1-1-0--8. Skyview: Meade 1-7-1--(-7), Martin 1-5-0--0.
Receiving -- Kodiak: Anthony 5-47, Emmerson 1-7, Matautia 1-3, VanMatre 1-8. Skyview: Quint 1-(-7), Lapp 1-0.
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