High school football: Olympus 'rocks' Skyline to claim Region 7 championship
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Prior to Friday night, it had been nearly 20 years since Skyline and Olympus met on the football field in a meaningful region game.
It was worth the wait.
In a thrilling game from start to finish, Olympus outlasted the Eagles 42-35 in a wild overtime game in front of a packed stadium at Skyline.
"That's a classic Skyline team there, and I'm just excited that I feel our program has elevated to the point where we can compete with the Skylines," said first-year Olympus coach Aaron Whitehead.
The victory clinched the Region 7 championship for Olympus while Skyline will head into the 4A state tournament as the region's No. 2 seed.
"At the start of the season we have one goal, to take region. Of course to take state, but our focus right away was to take region," said Whitehead.
The game probably should've never got to overtime. Leading 35-28, Olympus curiously tried a long field goal that was blocked. Skyline recovered at Olympus' 39-yard line with 57 seconds remaining. A few plays later it tied the game at 35-35 on a spectacular fourth down catch in the end zone from Garrett England with 24 seconds remaining.
Had Olympus punted, Skyline would've likely been hard-pressed to march 80 yards in less than a minute with its back-up quarterback.
Fortunately for Whitehead, he won't have to lose much sleep over the blocked field goal because his offense and defense each came up big in overtime. On the first possession of OT, Oly's Ryan Rasmussen hauled in 2-yard TD pass from Scott Porter on a fourth and goal to put Oly ahead 42-35.
"I definitely would rather have the ball in my hands than hope for a kick," said Porter.
Skyline fumbled the ball on its possession in overtime, and the Titans quickly stormed the field. It was only fitting, however, that in such a wild affair the game was decided in overtime.
Brandon McBride was brilliant for the Titans rushing for three touchdowns, including what seemed liked the likely game-winner on a one-yard plunge that put the Titans ahead 35-28 with 1:48 remaining.
The Titans forced Skyline to turn it over on downs on the ensuing possession, and was in position to run out the clock before the blocked field goal.
"We have a great kicker, and I felt good about it to get a two-score lead," said Whitehead.
In a game that had the makings of a defensive showdown, the offenses dominated throughout the game. The fourth quarter alone featured 35 points and one heckuva a finish.
"Both of our defenses are really good. I was surprised how many points were put up," said Porter.
Tied at 14-14 at the half, Skyline was poised to take the lead midway through the third quarter, but it fumbled the ball at the goal line on first down. Olympus responded with 99-yard scoring drive that Calvin Escobedo capped with a 10-yard TD reception to put the Titans ahead 21-14 with 4:26 remaining in the third.
On a drive that Skyline lost starting QB Zac Williams to a shoulder injury, the Eagles answered back on a five-yard TD run from Dylan Daugherty. The holder bobble the snap on the extra point attempt, cutting Oly's lead to 21-20.
Aided by a long kickoff return to midfielder, Olympus marched back and extended the lead to 28-20 and a five-yard touchdown run from Brandon McBride with 6:35 remaining in the game.
Skyline bounced right back to tie the game at 28-28 with 5:00 remaining on a Maurice Mapps Jr. 2-plunge and the succession two-point conversion.
The back-and-forth affair continued as Olympus regained the 35-28 lead.
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