SMITHFIELD — With a convincing 62-0 win against Cedar Valley, Sky View opened up its 2019 football playoff campaign and now advances to host seventh-seeded Mountain View (9-2) in the quarterfinals next Friday.
The Aviators (5-6) must have known they were going to have to put up a lot of points to keep up with the Bobcats (10-1) when they opted for an onside kick on the opening play of the game. Unfortunately for Cedar Valley, the kick was unsuccessful and it gave the Bobcats prime position to score the first of six touchdowns in the opening half.
A 9-yard pass from Kason Carlsen to Scout Morris put the first points on the board, but Carlsen was far from finished scoring on the night. The junior quarterback had his hand in all six of the team’s first-half touchdowns with one rush and five passing scores, including three to quarterback turned wide receiver Mason Falslev.
“Yeah me and Mason are really good friends on and off the field,” Carlsen said. “We knew he might be playing a little bit of receiver coming in, I was playing a little bit of receiver, so we were able to throw to each other and just be able to work on the connection. And throughout all the summer working with all the receivers, I mean it just helps a ton.”
Falslev showcased his in-air playmaking ability with two long touchdown grabs, transferring some of his skills from the hardwood to the gridiron and outjumping the Cedar Valley defensive backs. However, Falslev wasn’t the only one who shined on the night. The receiving core was on display from top to bottom. Four different receivers caught a touchdown pass, and Carlsen had no shortage of options to throw the ball to.
“We’re two, three deep at almost every position,” Carlsen said. “It’s insane the talent we have at receiver is probably some of the best we’ve had to go through Sky View, so it really makes my job easy.”
Although he didn’t get on the score sheet, running back Walter Collins was instrumental in opening up the passing game with some deep runs into Aviators’ territory early in the half. It was this balanced attack that really set Sky View apart from its opponents on the night and made it possible to gain a 45-0 lead by the break.
“The thing that I think from a defensive perspective is I look at our offense and there’s just so many guys you have to try and stop and it’s really hard,” SV head coach Christopher Howell said. “You take away one thing, and you open up avenues for other things.”
For Cedar Valley, finding a rhythm was not made easy by the Bobcats defense. The Aviators had more three and outs than first downs in the opening half and were consistently giving the ball back to Sky View without establishing any threat to score of their own.
A wild snap on a punt attempt in the first quarter sent Cedar Valley’s punter into a panic and he opted to boot the ball through the back of his own end zone, a safety, giving Sky View two points and the ball. A few plays later, the Bobcats found their way to the end zone yet again and pushed the lead to 23 points.
Whether it was a mental mistake made by Cedar Valley, a defensive stop, or one of two interceptions forced by the Bobcats, the home team kept control of possession for the majority of the game. Which is dangerous according to Howell.
“Extra possessions make a big deal, especially when we have such a high-powered offense, a potent offense that can score,” he said. “So every time you give them an opportunity to score, there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to score.”
The second half was a bit more quiet for the home team. By the fourth quarter, the starters were pulled and it was just a matter of 12 more minutes before Sky View could come away victorious. However, there was no drop of tempo with the backups in the game. A forced fumble on the final play of the third quarter set Sky View up in the red zone to open the fourth and quarterback Garrett Zollinger picked up right where his teammate left off with an 18-yard touchdown run to seal the game at 59-0. A late field goal by kicker Kasen Erickson gave the Bobcats their final points in the game and an important playoff victory.
Next for Sky View will be hosting a Mountain View team that advanced by beating Tooele 35-14 Friday night. The Bruins like to throw the ball and average 252.3 passing yards per game, with 26 touchdowns coming from quarterback Duce Anderson. As for what Howell and his team are going to do to prepare for another home playoff game, “Work harder than we did last week.”