SALT LAKE CITY — Skyline High found out the hard way it had a tough, talented Tiger by the tail.
And the Eagles, a proud, tradition-rich 5A program, wound up getting mauled pretty badly.
That Tiger's name is Hurricane, and the leader of the pack is Taylor Parker, a versatile quarterback-safety who guided his 3A team to an impressive 33-14 season-opening victory Friday night.
Parker threw for 110 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for a team-leading 82 yards and, for good measure, led his team with 11 tackles on defense. He also had an interception in Skyline territory to set up one of the Tigers' second-quarter scores as Hurricane came away with a rousing road win.
Parker connected with Adam Thompson on TD tosses of 4 and 17 yards, and Parker hooked up with Jared Edwards on a 15-yard scoring pass in the third quarter that gave the Tigers a 33-7 lead that sealed the deal.
"That's a huge win," Parker said. "Skyline's always been a great program. They're well-coached and I'm so excited. I just give all the credit to our offensive line; they worked their butts off and gave me plenty of time. And the D-line did great, too.
"When I'm on offense, I love it," he said, "and when I'm on defense, I love it. I just love it all. These guys are great."
Hurricane edged the Eagles 17-14 on a last-gasp field goal in last year's opener, and most folks figured this one would be much closer. But the Tigers dominated the game in the second and third quarters, and the revenge-minded Skyline squad had trouble on both sides of the ball.
Hurricane coach Chris Homer was mighty impressed with Parker's performance.
"He's just a leader, he's a gutty kid. He did everything tonight," Homer said. "He hit the important passes and did all the little things. Stepping into contact is never an easy thing to do, and it shows how tough he is."
Thompson wound up finding the end zone three times in all, as he also had a 7-yard scoring run in the second quarter that put the Tigers on top for good. Edwards added 53 yards rushing on 10 carries, and Colton Marshall was the top receiver with four catches for 45 yards.
Skyline got a 27-yard scoring scamper from Maurice Mapps early in the second quarter and a 1-yard TD plunge by Zac Williams midway through the final period.
But Cody Engstrom recovered a Skyline fumble deep in Hurricane territory to snuff the Eagles' last threat, and the Tigers ran out the clock to make it a much shorter bus ride going home late Friday night and Saturday morning.
"Five hours after a win is a lot better than five hours after a loss," Homer said.
And they needed a good ride home after getting their bus stuck in a ditch in Provo on the way to the game.7 comments on this story
"Our bus driver buried our bus; we were an hour and 15 minutes late getting here," Homer said. "I mean, it was crazy.
"Our driver went somewhere he shouldn't have gone, bless his soul. We had to get a big, huge wrecker. I've never seen a bus high-centered, but I did today. We were doing our walk-through, and he was moving the bus around, and he ended up in the ditch. ... And when that happened, I literally thought 'Is that going to be a precursor for the whole season? Is somebody sending me a message?' The poor guy, I had to give him a hug. I mean, he was bent out of shape.
"And then to come out and execute like we did, I never would've thought they would have the turnovers they did, but they did," Homer said. "I think they're going to be a good team, and I think we are, too, so it was fun."