4A high school football preview: Skyline at Bountiful
Ravell Call, Deseret News
Skyline (5-4) at Bountiful (8-2)
4A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Bountiful by 14
All-time series: Skyline leads 9-1
Last meeting: Sept. 20, 1996 — Skyline 28, Bountiful 7
BOUNTIFUL — The possibility of the 4A first-round matchup between Skyline and Bountiful resembling an old NFL Films scene is almost guaranteed.
Imagine players’ breaths steaming in the cold, wet night, with uniforms covered in mud and grass stains as two bruising defenses try to stop the other team's rushing attack in a tense, low-scoring affair.
Sounds about right.
“Well that’s what we do. We like to run the football — that’s kind of the first thing we want to establish is running the football,” Bountiful coach Larry Wall said. “Jake (Hunt) is probably as good as running back as there is in the state. We’ll ride him just like we have in every game this year.”
“Depending on what the weather is we might not even throw on Friday,” Skyline coach Steve Marlowe added. “We’re never going to win throwing the ball.”
When the two programs square off at Bountiful High Friday at 5 p.m. it will be the first meeting since 1995, a game Skyline won 12-10 at Bountiful. Not much has changed since as both programs still have extremely conservative approaches on both sides of the ball. It’s a matter of, “this is what we’re going to do — try and stop us.”
For the Braves (8-2), Hunt, a stout powerful sprinter, has rushed for 1,045 yards and 18 touchdowns in large part due to his durability as games progress into the fourth quarter.
“They’re very vanilla. They don’t run a bunch of special plays. They just line up and try to knock you off the ball,” Marlowe said of the Braves’ downhill rushing game. “It basically comes down to getting off the block and making a play. They have a very good running back (Hunt) and a solid offensive line. They make very few mistakes. Football is not a very big mystery. There’s not something you pull out of your hat the 10th game of the season.”
Skyline (5-4) and its heralded triple-option is never easy for an opposing defense. It forces players to go against natural instincts and play position football rather than pursing the ball-carrier.
“They kind of put you in a tough bind. They do a lot of things and if you’re going to play the pass and bring a lot of pressure, they can run the football very well,” Wall said of the Eagles. “Their quarterback (Tyler Snyder) — I think he’s by far and away their leading rusher also. He runs the ball very well and they get into that wishbone.
“When you bring a lot of pressure he can hurt you and tuck it and run,” Wall continued. “We’re conscious of where he is. We need to bring pressure, but we need to make sure we contain him and keep him in the pocket.”
Considering Skyline’s pass attempts will be few and far between, finding ways to utilize receiver Garrett England is integral to the amount of success the Eagles will have on offense Friday.
“We also have him in the backfield and lining him up outside. Sometimes it's better not to throw him the ball ‘cause they’ll double team him,” Marlowe said of England. “He’s one of the best players we’ve ever had at Skyline. He has tremendous ability. He’s really special.”