It took just 15 seconds for the Skyview High School football team to get on the scoreboard Thursday -- just long enough for Ian Leach to field the opening kickoff at his own 20-yard line, slip a few tackles around midfield and scoot up the left sideline and into the end zone.
"We got off to a good start," said Skyview head coach Wade Marcuson after the game, a 32-0 win at home over the Homer Mariners in a Northern Lights Conference game.
With the win, the Panthers improve to 1-1 in the conference and 2-2 overall while the Mariners fall to 1-1 in the NLC and 1-2 overall.
Leach's 80-yard dash left the Mariners somewhat shell-shocked through the first quarter and the Panthers took advantage by scoring 19 more points in the opening frame.
Skyview quarterback Ely Evanson connected with Mark McGarry on the Panthers' fourth play from scrimmage, springing the wideout up the right sideline for a 66-yard scoring strike with 7:16 left in the quarter.
Evanson took care of the Panthers' third touchdown of the quarter by himself, scoring on a quarterback sneak from the Homer 1-yard line with 2:47 on the clock.
Leach closed out the quarter just like he started it, getting around the corner on a reverse play for a 44-yard touchdown run. Travis Endsley connected on the PAT kick to give the Panthers a 25-0 cushion.
While the Homer defense buckled, it certainly didn't break, and the Mariners held the Panthers scoreless through the second, third and most of the fourth quarters. Skyview didn't find the end zone again until Stryder Reilly broke through on a 2-yard run with nine seconds left in the ballgame.
"The defense is improving," said Homer coach Todd Phillips. "We were popping -- Skyview was popping on defense too -- but we competed. Through all the adversity, these guys competed."
Among the Mariners defensive highlights were two interceptions by senior safety Bill Case. Homer also held the Panthers under 100 yards rushing, giving up just 93 yards on the ground.
With the running game bottled up, the Panthers relied on several big passing plays to break the game open. Evanson and Wayne Maxwell combined to throw for 171 yards through the air. Leach caught three balls for 77 yards, McGarry hauled in three passes for 77 yards and Matt Burdick caught a pass for 11 yards.
"They're throwing beautiful balls," Leach said of the Panthers' quarterbacks. "I just catch them. It's a partnership."
Maxwell threw the compliment back to his receivers.
"We've got guys that can catch the ball, and we've got some really effective plays and a good coach that throws them in at the right time," Maxwell said. "It's also a tribute to the line. We don't have a lot of big guys, but they're quick and they get the job done."
"Our offensive line surge was better tonight and we got our running game back," Marcuson said.
The Panthers coaching staff also had plenty to pleased about on the defensive side of the ball.
"Chris Rice penetrated well," said Panther assistant Rob Sparks. "He got to their quarterback and made him throw the ball away. (Trevor) Tompkins and Reilly at linebacker did a good job -- we played well against the run. I'm proud of our defensive backs. We played a team that likes to spread you out and we didn't give anything up there."
Skyview will travel to Nikiski next Friday for a non-conference game, with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The Mariners will host Kenai next Saturday. Game time is 2 p.m. in Homer.
PANTHERS 32, MARINERS 0
Homer 0 0 0 0 --0
Skyview 25 0 0 7 --32
Sky -- Leach 80 kickoff return (kick blocked), 11:45
Sky -- McGarry 66 pass from Evanson (kick blocked), 7:16
Sky -- Evanson 1 run (kick failed), 2:47
Sky -- Leach 44 run (Endsley kick), 0:00
Sky -- Reilly 2 run (Endsley kick), 0:09
First downs 5 13
Rushes-yards 33-70 35-93
Passing yards 32 171
Return yards 54 3
Passing 4-14-1 6-12-2
Punts-avg 5-28.4 3-35.3
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 7-50 10-73
Rushing -- Homer: Turkington 7-38, Smith 6-20, Stewart 14-10, Bacher 6-2. Skyview: Leach 3-48, Reilly 16-45, Endsley 11-13, Evanson 2-(-3), Maxwell 3-(-10).
Passing -- Homer: Young 0-4-0-0, Smith 4-10-1-32. Skyview: Evanson 2-3-1-82, Maxwell 6-12-2-89.
Receiving -- Homer: Roberts 1-14, Stewart 1-9, Turkington 1-8, Bacher 1-1. Skyview: Leach 3-77, McGarry 3-77, Burdick 1-16.
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