Last minute tragedy was averted Friday night as a late Nick Carver fumble was reversed when Cole Bangerter intercepted a Bonneville pass on the next play to seal the Lakers’ fate and solidify the Bobcat win. The victory puts Sky View in a tie at the region level with Mountain Crest after the Mustangs fell to the Royals on Friday night. An overtime victory by Olympus will have Sky View matched up against Skyline in the first round of the playoffs.
It seems that over the past few years when the Sky View Bobcats have played on the Lakers’ field it has come down to the wire, and a turnover has made the difference in the game. Last night was no different; however, this year things worked out in Sky View’s favor.
Turnovers would prove to be a huge factor in the win for the Bobcats forcing seven in the game, four of which came in the first half. Fumbles were the name of the game during this contest. Carver coughed up his first of his three fumbles in the game, on the second play from scrimmage. Two of Carver’s fumbles went to the Lakers while a third was recovered by Sky View.
In the first half, Yabitse Wells had a fumble recovery while Conner Chambers came up with a pair. Corbin Lee came up with an interception as well.
Midway through the first quarter Bonneville moved the ball on successful run and pass plays down to the 1 yard line. It was then that running back Brock Kap finished off the drive with a TD run. Carson Fackrell added the extra point to put Bonneville on the board first.
The first three turnovers wouldn’t result in any points for the Bobcats but the fourth one would finally put Sky View on the board. After Milyon Chantry covered the punt returner so closely that the ball actually hit him in the back of the helmet, Bonneville opted to have Sky View re-kick the ball. Having the Bobcats re-punt the ball would prove be a bad decision by the Lakers. A flubbed return that hit a Bonneville player resulted in Sky View getting the ball back deep in Lakers territory. One play later with only :26 left on the clock Carver hooked up with receiver Mitch Larsen for a 25 yard TD pass. Josh Egbert’s extra point sent the teams to the locker room all tied up at 7 points apiece.
Both teams put up scores in each of the final periods, Sky View’s came on a 39 yard Carver to Nick Payne touchdown pass in the third, and a similar 33 yard Carver to Payne pass on the other end of the field in the fourth.
Bonneville scored midway through the third to tie things up at 14 on a Kap 10 yard touchdown run. In the fourth a drive deep into Bobcat territory stalled when the Sky View defense stiffened up and forced the Lakers to settle for a field goal.
The drama would really heat up at the end of the fourth quarter as Bonneville desperate for a winning score turned to their passing game to try and get the job done. Some good defensive play by the Bobcats had the Lakers quarterback scrambling and he was unable to hit some open receivers that looked headed for pay dirt.
When Bonneville turned the ball over on downs they had a pair of time outs left, which meant the Bobcats needed a first down to run out the clock. Opting to go for it on fourth down, Carver took off on a keeper in which he appeared to reach first down territory. However, a karate chop that would have made Chuck Norris proud resulted in a fumble and Bonneville got the ball back near midfield, with around :30 left in the game.
Just when it looked like history would repeat itself; on the ensuing play Cole Bangerter grabbed the Bonneville pass, and picked up the game winning interception with a little over :20 on the clock. A couple of knees would run out the clock and seal the victory for the Bobcats.
Quoting Coach Perry Christensen, head coach Craig Andher said, “Every win is a good win.” Andher added, “It was sure an ugly path to get it . . . I shouldn’t say it was ugly, there were some ugly things about it but not everything was ugly.”
Praising the offense Andher said, “It was a good night and our offense did move the ball well. I was really pleased with Alex Watts and our o-line. Every one of them played very physical and did a great job. We had to have a sophomore Seth White step in to fill in for Cody Wilmore who had an injury, and so you know he stepped up. Kunzler was able to come in and give us some very good quality reps to keep JD [Jones] fresh.”
Alex Watts who picked up 106 yards on 24 carries spoke about his night saying, “The o-line just opened up holes and I just ran through them, it’s just what you’ve got to do you know.”
With Sean Gero gone from the team after his family moved out of town a few weeks ago, Watts has had to pick up a bigger load of the rushing duties. Speaking of his new role and getting a few more carries Watts said, “It helps you with the flow of the game, it helps you to get more into it. We miss Gero a lot; it was a great loss to the team.”
Andher spoke about the running game saying, “It was good to see that o-line do such a good job and give Alex Watts all those yards. Alex Watts ran the ball hard so I was really pleased with him, and when Alex wasn’t running it you had Skyler [Hunt] stepping in and running the ball hard.” Hunt had 6 touches for 15 yards.
Watts lead the team in rushing, and was followed by Carver who had 52 yards on fourteen carries. The Bobcats finished with 181 yards on the ground.
Happy with the passing game Andher continued, “You know I thought we hit some big plays when we needed to, and that was very important for us to put the ball in the end zone in some of those spots. We were able to set that up because of our run game. We had a few drops early on that didn’t help us out, but I was really pleased that the kids kept their heads up so that we could go out and continue to perform well.”
Carver had a good night passing going 17-for-29 and totaling 233 yards, three touchdowns, and made up for his fumbles by not throwing any interceptions.
On the receiving end of Carver’s passes Payne caught six for 105 yards, and two touchdowns. Larson caught eight balls for 73 yards and one touchdown. Corey Jensen had two for 20 yards while Skyler Hunt had one go for 35 yards. Total offense for the Bobcats equaled 414 yards.
Andher was very pleased with the forced turnovers, “That made a big difference, you know our offense moved the ball but they sputtered in a few spots, and then we had our own turnovers and so the defense just really kept us in it and truly got us a win tonight. Our defense you know I thought they played fabulous tonight they had a good game plan and they executed that game plan. We’ve got some great athletes on defense and that showed.”
Garth Jolley registered a sack for a 6 yard loss, while Ethan Dursteler and Conner Chambers teamed up for a 3 yard sack.
Cole Bangerter had ten tackles in the game four solos and six assists. Tre Hansen had four solo tackles and was in on five others. Milyon Chantry was busy with five solo tackles and two assists, while always active Garth Jolley registered six solo tackles in the game.
Speaking of the defensive effort, game changer Cole Bangerter commented, “First off it starts with the defensive line. The last few drives it all started with them. They were just forcing that guy out of the pocket, and he was just pushing out throws that he normally wouldn’t make.”
Bangerter praised the defensive backs saying, “We had a few little scary moments . . . overall one thing we’ve talked about all year is recovering from a big play. I think we did tonight we stopped them down near the goal line and forced a field goal which was obviously key.”
Bangerter said, “The offense did a great job of staying on the field tonight running the ball, passing the ball. We’ve just got to keep this momentum rolling, once we get going no one can stop us.”
Speaking of next week against Hillcrest Bangerter said, “I think it’s about confidence, we’ve got to keep the momentum rolling.”
Going into the playoffs tied for second with Mountain Crest had coach Andher feeling good. “We’ve beaten some really good teams here, were going in with some momentum. I want to continue that momentum. We need to come out and play a very tough Hillcrest team and we need to focus on that first. The very best thing we can do for the playoffs is go out and have a very good game Wednesday night against Hillcrest.”
The Bobcats will have a short week to prepare for their next opponent due to the upcoming UEA weekend. Sky View travels to Hillcrest on Wednesday to take on the Huskies. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.