The Skyview Panthers feasted on the Anchorage Christian Schools Lions Friday night at Skyview, but the Panthers are still hungry.
Skyview chalked up a 27-6 victory in the nonconference contest, but the inability to sustain long drives on offense and the vulnerability to big plays on defense left the Panthers growling after the game.
The coaching staff and players said they will have to play better when conference foes Homer, Soldotna and Kenai come calling later in the season.
"We need those three games if we want to get into the playoffs," Skyview senior running back Mike Waer said after the Panthers moved to 2-1 overall. "We have to step up and show we're ready to play.
"We haven't done that in years past, and we didn't do it tonight."
Waer had 140 yards rushing, 64 yards receiving and three touchdowns Friday. Senior Trevor Tompkins, who like Waer is in his first year as a running back, had 85 yards on the ground to complete a potent one-two attack.
But like Waer, Tompkins was in no mood to puff his chest in post-game conversation.
"When you play teams like Kenai and Soldotna, you're going to need good, sustained drives of 40 to 60 yards," Tompkins said. "Tonight, we had trouble doing that because of missed penalties and blocks."
The Panthers had 304 yards on the ground, but never had the ball for more than four series of downs despite accumulating 15 first downs. Five times Skyview dallied in the biggest drive-killer of them all -- the holding penalty.
"We did execute, we just didn't execute consistently," Skyview coach Wade Marcuson said.
Skyview took the lead in the first quarter on a three-play drive that took under a minute and reached its acme when Cody Williams scored on a 19-yard run with 9:10 showing on the clock.
In the second half, Waer scored on a 1-yard run and a 61-yard pass from Justin Rainwater. The latter put Skyview up 20-0 with 7:01 left in the game.
ACS (1-2 overall) hit pay dirt when quarterback Todd Alden hit Chris White with an 8-yard pass with 5:36 left, but Waer answered with a 1-yard scoring plunge with 1:01 remaining.
Skyview's defense yielded just 205 total yards, but also gave up five plays of 20 yards or more.
"A defense can't stop the offense three-quarters of the time, then give up a big play," Marcuson said.
The adroit and strong-armed Alden was a key factor in many of those plays, completing 7 of his 11 passes for 142 yards.
"I was impressed with their quarterback," Marcuson said. "He'd get out of the pocket, and he could throw on the run or take off down the field."
When they weren't chasing around Alden, the Panthers did hold rugged Lions running back Cody Dunbar to 47 yards on 11 carries.
"It was clear they were keying on our fullback," ACS coach Pete Carroll said. "He tore them up last year, and he should have tore them up this year.
"As a coaching staff, we didn't make the adjustments we needed to."
Although Skyview was disappointed with its execution Friday, the Panthers remain optimistic. Running back Brandon Cleveland stepped up for 40 yards on seven carries, and Marcuson had two fullbacks and a tailback that didn't even suit up due to injury.
"After Eielson, we saw a bunch of things we needed to work on and we came back strong against Nikiski," Tompkins said of the 49-0 loss to the Ravens followed by the 40-0 thumping of the Bulldogs. "We'll work on the things we weren't able to execute this week."
The Panthers host nonconference foe Kodiak Friday at 7 p.m.
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