SMITHFIELD — Sky View came back from an early nine-point deficit in the first half and then held on in the final moments of the game to win its Region 11 opener at home against rival Green Canyon, 32-24.
The Wolves (4-1, 0-1 Region 11) had a chance to tie the game on their final drive of the night. Earlier in the fourth quarter, junior quarterback Jake Lundin capped off a 16-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard pass connection to Jacob Regen. That brought the score to 32-24.
Sky View (4-1, 1-0) promptly went three-and-out, handing the ball back to GC with 3:34 left in the game. Green Canyon drove the ball all the way to the Bobcats’ 3-yard line, but couldn’t finish the deal. Hunter Larsen sacked Lundin on fourth and two, paving the way to a night filled with victory celebrations.
“That’s a great team (Green Canyon),” SV head coach Chris Howell said. “But I felt like our guys responded in an unbelievable way. We had a lot of calls not go our way, turned the ball over a couple times and our kids never — their eyes never dropped, they never blinked, they continued to play. So proud of their effort and what we were able to overcome tonight.”
Among several obstacles to overcome, including nearly 200 yards in penalties, was the absence of starting quarterback, Mason Falslev. The junior watched the game from the sideline without pads due to an injury suffered in the team’s win over Madison seven days prior.
In his place, Kason Carlsen started, assuming the duties of playmaker. In that role he thrived, throwing for 194 yards and running for another 120 and four rushing touchdowns. In other words, Carlsen scored all the touchdowns for the Bobcats.
“We expected it,” Howell said of his new QB1’s performance. “Everybody over there (on Green Canyon’s side) was celebrating because they thought with Mason out that we were taking a step backwards. Kason Carlsen is a great player, plays with a tremendous amount of toughness and fortitude. We knew we’d be in great hands.”
The great play took a minute to load as Green Canyon took the first initiative. The Wolves grabbed hold of the game by the horns in the first quarter by scoring on their first possession after the defense strip-sacked Carlsen and recovered the ball on the SV 30-yard line. Lundin found Regen open in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass. When the defense held Sky View again, the Wolves appeared to be taking solid control of the game.
Then a couple of cracks started to show.
Sky View held GC to a punt, which is where things began to go wrong for the visiting team. Punter/kicker Ethan Delisle faced intense pressure on the punt, but dodged past defenders to belt a kick inside the 30-yard line. However, an illegal procedure penalty forced a re-kick. On that do-over, the long-snapper sent the ball over Delisle’s head and into the end zone. In an effort to salvage literally anything on the play, the punter-turned-quarterback tried to throw the ball from the end zone, but was called for intentional grounding, forcing a safety.
Later, on another punt, the Bobcats again brought the heat. Delisle got away, but the pressure forced a mere 10-yard punt. That set up Sky View’s second touchdown of the game with 30 seconds to play in the first half. In all, 11 of SV’s first-half points were directly correlated with Green Canyon mistakes.
Mistakes in the first half weren’t unique to Green Canyon. The Bobcats shared in the misfortune. Carlsen’s lost fumble obviously led to a score, but another early turnover cost SV a chance deep in Wolves territory.
Early in the second quarter with the score standing 7-5 in GC’s favor, Scout Morris intercepted Lundin on a deep pass, returning the ball inside GC’s 10-yard line (though a personal foul penalty backed it up to the 25). The very next play, Carlsen threw an interception of his own, handing the ball back to the Wolves, who drove down the field in five plays, with Lundin tossing his second of three touchdowns in the game.
Green Canyon started off the second half with a 34-yard field goal to draw within one point 18-17, but from there Sky View or, more accurately Carlsen, took over. Carlsen scored on runs from 1 and 5 yards out, stretching the lead to 15 points.
Lundin led a valiant losing effort for the Wolves. He led all players in rushing yards with 154 on 30 carries. He routinely evaded Bobcat tacklers, weaving in and out for extra yardage. But by the end of the game, Sky View caught on. Lundin’s final seven rushes of the game went for a total of 16 yards.
Sky View ended the game with nine tackles for loss, led by Hunter Lewis’ 2.5 and Jaxson Wilson’s 2.0.
The loss for the Wolves ends the team’s undefeated run, but the 4-1 start remains the best in program history. Next week they will face Mountain Crest,.
Sky View, with the win, assumes first place in Region 11 with the best overall record, though tied in region record with Mountain Crest and Bear River. The Bobcats will play Ridgeline.