Skyview tested Wasilla by posting a 10-7 lead at halftime in the Friday nonconference game at Skyview High School. The Warriors aced the test.
After struggling to move the ball with three running backs in the backfield, Wasilla switched to a single-back set called their ace formation late in the first half and used the formation to post a 28-13 comeback victory.
Wasilla’s ace formation was at its best in the third quarter. Quarterback Hunter Scholtz completed all five of his passes for a total of 85 yards and running back Otis Williams scored on runs of 10 and 11 yards. Williams also scored in the fourth quarter and finished with 83 yards on 18 carries. Scholtz finished 13-of-24 for 215 yards.
“We tried to run the ball a little bit, but we’re finding out we’re better at passing,” Wasilla coach Jim Shetter said after his team improved to 2-1 overall. “In the last two games, we’ve passed the ball really well.”
Wasilla ran the ball 13 times for an average of 3.3 yards in the first quarter and attempted just two passes. Skyview also stuck to the ground, rushing nine times for 16 yards and attempting three passes.
“I hoped we would do a little better running the ball,” Skyview coach Phil Sheridan said after dropping to 1-2. “We didn’t run well enough to sustain any drives.”
With both teams proving the stubborness of their run defenses, it was up to the passing attacks to create big plays and open things up for the running game.
With 3:10 left in the first quarter, Skyview recovered a fumble on the Wasilla 26. A 23-yard pass play from Greg Bosick to Buck Kunz led to a 26-yard field goal by Jake Bauer.
Skyview, which finished with 11 penalties for 110 yards, lost its momentum due to yellow flags. On the drive after the field goal, Wasilla went backwards 2 yards on its first two plays but Skyview kick-started the drive with equipment and pass interference penalties.
The Warriors took advantage as Scholtz hit Jeff Champion for 18- and 41-yard passes to set up Zach Orr for a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:31 until halftime.
Skyview answered with a nine-play, 52-yard drive capped by a 30-yard strike from Bosick to Kunz with 4:40 until halftime.
In the third quarter, Williams and receiver Jeremiah Collins took turns tormenting the Panthers. Williams rushed five times for 28 yards out of the single-back set, while Collins caught four balls for 71 yards, making many of his yards after contact.
“We got hurt by missed tackles,” Sheridan said. “We worked on pass coverage all week, but we’re still not where we need to be.”
Down 21-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Panthers attempted a comeback but again were stalled by penalties. Bosick completed what appeared to be a 72-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Buffington, but a block in the back at the 2-yard line negated the score. The Panthers had to settle for another Bauer field goal with 5:20 left in the game to cut the gap to 21-13.
The Warriors then embarked on a 12-play, 50-yard scoring drive that ate up 3:06 of the remaining 5:17 and essentially ended the game. The Warriors faced a fourth-and-four early in the drive, but picked up 9 yards on a fake punt. Wasilla then had a third-and-fifteen, but converted that on a pass interference penalty that negated a Skyview interception.
“We were just making little mistakes that are correctable, like putting a hand on the back of the receiver,” said Bosick, who finished with 27 carries for 82 yards and 3-of-14 passing for 124 yards.
The loss to Wasilla ultimately has no bearing on whether Skyview makes the playoffs, so there were positives to be taken from the game.
Shetter said Skyview, a small-schools team, showed it could hang with Wasilla, a big-schools team.
“They really have an outstanding team,” Shetter said. “I was impressed.”
Bosick said he liked the attitude the Panthers showed even when it was clear the game would be lost.
“We stayed strong and never let down,” Bosick said. “Most of the time in past years the players from Skyview might have given up.”
Warriors 28, Skyview 13
Wasilla 0 7 14 7 28
Skyview 3 7 0 3 13
Sky Bauer 26 field goal, 11:48
Was Orr 1 run (Dahl kick), 8:31
Sky Kunz 30 pass from Bosick (Bauer kick), 4:40
Was Williams 10 run (Dahl kick), 2:54
Was Williams 11 run (Dahl kick), 0:19
Sky Bauer 26 field goal, 5:20
Was Williams 7 run (Dahl kick), 2:11
First downs 16 11
Rushes-yards 39-103 45-132
Passing yards 215 123
Return yards 39 14
Passing 13-25-0 3-15-0
Punts-avg 3-41.3 5-36.4
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-70 11-110
Rushing Wasilla: Williams 18-83, Gagnon 2-1, Z. Orr 8-20, Scholtz 8-(-12), Dahl 1-9, Champion 2-2; Skyview: Bosick 27-82, Mallette 2-6, Buffington 10-39, Cobb 4-14, Bauer 2-(-9).
Passing Wasilla: Scholtz 13-24-0-215, Champion 0-1-0-0; Skyview: Bosick 3-14-0-123, Buffington 0-1-0-0.
Receiving Wasilla: Z. Orr 1-14, Champion 2-59, Gagnon 1-0, Pearce 2-35, Williams 1-14, Collins 6-93; Skyview: Kunz 2-52, Buffington 1-70.
Missed field goals Dahl 41 wide right.
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