SALT LAKE CITY —Facing the possibility of a 1-3 start to their 2011 football season, the tradition-rich Skyline Eagles didn't want to go down quietly.
Not to a 3A school, and certainly not on television.
The Eagles looked futile in the first quarter, losing fumbles on?their first three possessions. However, coach Roger Dupaix??s crew recovered and went on to beat Juan Diego 27-7 Thursday night in a non-region game.
"I'm pretty sure they didn't want to lose to the likes of us," said Juan Diego coach John Colosimo. "There's too much tradition there and they just took it to us."?
The Eagles non-region schedule included three smaller (3A) schools and they hadn't impressed anybody, particularly themselves, after a 33-14 loss to Hurricane and a 21-20 win at Cedar.
This time, quarterback Zac Williams ran for two touchdowns and passed for another, and running back Maurice Mapps busted a 50-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter as Skyline evened its record going into Region 7 play next week.
"We were lucky we weren't down 21-0," said Dupaix. "Our defense played well the whole game and gave our offense a chance to get into a rhythm."?
More importantly, guys like Josh Stevens and Ian Hultquist helped prevent Juan Diego from finding one of its own. The Soaring Eagle, which came into the game averaging 35 points per game, got an early touchdown shortly after?Dakota Cox's punt was downed at the 3-yard line and Sharrieff Shah recovered a fumble on the next play.
It took Juan Diego three plays, and it was the only time the Soaring Eagle?crossed the goal line. Stephens' interception deep in his own territory prevented another touchdown and Skyline coaches savored that play because they felt it was only a matter of time before Williams, Mapps and Dylan Daugherty started finding holes.
"We hadn't played really well in our first few games," said Dupaix, "but I saw a lot of improvement tonight. That's the first time for us this year."
The Eagles blew the game open in the third quarter. Tied 7-7 at halftime, Williams found Daugherty wide open on a short pass and the 6-foot, 170-pound speedster outraced everyone to the end zone.
After Skyline held Juan Diego on its next drive, the Eagles went 57 yards on 12 plays and took a 20-7 lead on a short run by Williams.
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Juan Diego's offense had just 125 yards the entire game. The Soaring Eagles fell to 3-1 overall because its?vaunted rushing attack averaged just over two yards per carry. Leading rusher Brock Garn started at quarterback and had just 10 yards on nine carries. He had better luck in the fourth quarter when he was moved to tailback and Nick Markosian came in to call the plays.
"It's a loss, and we'll take it," said Colosimo. "It doesn't hurt us. It takes the target off our backs for a while and it doesn't stop us from our goal, which is to win the 3A title."?