NORTH LOGAN — Midway through the fourth quarter it was looking like a battle between Region 11 neighbors may go down to the wire.
Host Green Canyon was driving and could make it a one-score game against defending league and state champion Sky View. But like it had most of the night, the Bobcat defense came up big in the region opener for both schools Friday night.
Titan Saxton got his hands on a pass by Wolves quarterback Jake Lundin, tipping it up in the air. Saxton’s teammate Isaac Larsen was alert and secured the ball for an interception, and then the speedster was off to the races. Larsen went 96 yards to paydirt, virtually putting the game away.
“Gosh dang, that was brutal,” said Saxton, who felt he should have come up with the interception. “We work turnover drill every week. Isaac got it, and we had four or five guys going downhill, making blocks. It was awesome.”
Sky View tacked on another touchdown late in the contest in the 42-14 victory.
“We created some turnovers and got two touchdowns off of defense,” Bobcat head coach Chris Howell said. “You can’t ask for much more. ... That’s a good football team (Green Canyon) and I’m super proud of how our kids responded when things didn’t go perfect.”
It was the second pick six of the night by the Bobcats (5-0 overall, 1-0 region). Sky View linebacker/running back Walter Collins brought back an interception for 73 yards early in the second quarter, flipping into the end zone.
“I was waiting for him (Lundin),” said Collins, who had 59 yards rushing and 10 tackles. “I was tired after that return.”
Mistakes certainly did in Green Canyon (2-3, 0-1). The Wolves finished with 342 yards of total offense, but couldn’t get in the end zone enough.
“Offensively, twice Jake is trying so hard to make something happen,” Wolves head coach Craig Anhder said. “If we take a sack, I still think we score and we have momentum and a chance. Credit to Sky View. They added a lot of pressure and were very effective with their defensive schemes.”
Green Canyon was able to keep the ball out of Sky View’s hands a good portion of the night, but just couldn’t cash in. The Wolves ran 72 plays, while the Bobcats ran 38. However, Sky View gained 455 yards of offense.
“Our offense was really moving the ball well,” Anhder said. “It was just mistakes. We didn’t have to punt very many times. Our guys played tough. ... I told the kids we are running a marathon. We’ve got to get better in the long haul.”
When Sky View did get the ball on offense, it made quick strikes. It took the Bobcats just 11 seconds to dent the scoreboard. On the opening play from scrimmage, SV quarterback Kason Carlsen pump faked and went deep to a streaking Larsen, who actually had to slow down a bit to make the catch and was gone for an 80-yard TD.
“We knew where we were going to start the game,” Howell said. “A lot of teams are going to struggle with Ike (Larsen). The great thing about it, is we have other guys. Kason is smart enough to find open guys and get the ball to them.”
The Wolves turned the ball over near midfield on downs, and six plays later the Bobcats were up 14-0 not even five minutes into the game. Carlsen hit a wide open Samuel Thatcher for a 17-yard score.
“We try to come out firing on all cylinders,” Collins said.
A lost fumble by Sky View — Aiden Merrill caused it, Cole Fife recovered the pigskin near midfield — gave the hosts some momentum. However, under pressure Lundin threw an ill-advised pass, and Collins was waiting.
To the Wolves credit, they put together a 12-play drive get on the scoreboard. They converted two third-down plays and two fourth-down plays, including the fourth-and-goal TD plunge by Lundin from a yard out.
Sky View took a 21-7 lead into the break.
The Bobcats struck first in the second half, but it took eight plays. Thatcher had a 44-yard reception on third-and-21 to keep the drive alive. Saxton hauled in a 19-yard TD strike from Carlsen to make it 28-0.
“I told Kason and he checked it, because that wasn’t the designed route,” Saxton said. “It was awesome.”
Carlsen completed 13 of 18 pass attempts for 330 yards. The Bobcat signal caller also rushed for 34 yards.
Green Canyon scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, capping a 76-yard, 15-play drive. Once again the Wolves scored on fourth-and-goal from a yard out. Lundin completed a pass to Jaxon Curtis to pull the hosts within 28-14.
Lundin completed 20 of 37 pass attempts for 198 yards. The dual threat signal caller led all rushers with 123 yards on 25 carries.
“Lundin is a special, special kid and really hard to game plan for,” Howell said. “He is a great player and had a great night tonight.”
Green Canyon’s Mason Anderson recovered a fumble to thwart a Sky View drive with plenty of time to play. The Wolves reached the Bobcats’ 15 when disaster struck for the home team — the pick by Larsen.
“Our game plan was to come in and eliminate their two best players, (Jacob) Regen and Lundin,” Saxton said. “I think we did a pretty good job eliminating Regen. Jake (Lundin) had a few good plays, but we wanted to force them to march the field and not let any big plays, which we did for the most part.”
Collins had two offensive TDs called back because of penalties, but was able to score from 27 yards out late in the contest to put the final nail in the Wolves’ coffin.
“It was great the coaches had faith in me and trusted me to call my number again,” Collins said. “... I think we sent a message to all the other schools in region, that we are ready to play. This was a big game tonight, but we have a lot of things we can get better at.”
Hunter Lewis led the Sky View defense with 11 tackles.
The Bobcats have now won 17 in a row, dating back to last season.
“This was fun and big, but Monday we are going to watch film and fix it up and on to the next one,” Saxton said. “Ridgeline is next and we need to prepare well.”
BOBCATS 42, WOLVES 14
Friday at North Logan
Sky View 14 7 7 14 — 42
Green Canyon 0 7 0 7 — 14
SV — Isaac Larsen 80 pass from Kason Carlsen (Kasen Erickson kick), 11:49
SV — Samuel Thatcher 17 pass from Carlsen (Erickson kick), 7:06
SV — Walter Collins 73 interception return (Erickson kick), 11:00
GC — Jake Lundin 1 run (Carson Gerber kick), 4:16
SV — Titan Saxton 19 pass from Carlsen (Erickson kick), 6:19
GC — Jaxon Curtis 1 pass from Lundin (Gerber kick), 11:57
SV — Larsen 96 interception return (Erickson kick), 6:18
SV — Collins 27 run (Erickson kick), 1:42