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.”
The Braves will be without starting quarterback Jordan Hayes for the second consecutive week after the junior underwent surgery to repair a broken collarbone sustained in the loss against Woods Cross.
Senior Taylor Holman was 5 of 9 for 71 yards and a touchdown in his first start during Bountiful’s 31-9 win over Layton last weekend.
“We haven’t had a lot of turnovers and I think they’ve rallied around (Holman),” Wall said. “It’s a great opportunity for Taylor. He’s worked hard. He’s a senior. And this is his chance to shine.
"We just need to take care of the football. Our No. 1 emphasis is cleaning up the things that we do — eliminate the turnovers. They’re a good football team, so we expect a really good battle.”
Considering Holman’s relative lack of experience, its feasible Skyline could bring added pressure and mix up coverages to potentially guide him into making forced decisions. However, Marlowe explained that the Eagles won’t change anything defensively.
“You can’t underestimate perseverance in football. A lot of times, it’s kind of like Brandon Doman, an old Skyline kid. He got passed over 10 times at BYU, went to defense, back up and it was the last game his junior year before he got a start and he just (had a) great senior year,” Marlowe said in reference to Holman. “A lot of times those kids that end up starting at the end of the season and finally get their opportunity have so much mental toughness, so much drive. A lot times they end up having great games.”
Skyline statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 21.1 ppg
Scoring defense: 20.1 ppg
Passing leader: Tyler Snyder (62-113, 54.9%, 898 yards, 8 TDs, 7 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Tyler Snyder (130 carries, 735 yards, 8 TDs), Garrett England (41 carries, 263 yards, 4 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Garrett England (31 rec., 361 yards, 5 TDs)
Sack leaders: Roman Salehi (5 sacks), Carter Jacobsen (3.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Jack Larsen (2 INTs)
Bountiful statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 28.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 17.7 ppg
Passing leader: Jordan Hayes (63-92, 68.5%, 853 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Jakob Hunt (170 carries, 1,045 yards, 18 TDs)
Sack leaders: Junior Hamilton (4.5 sacks), Tylee Gautavai (3.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Sam Merrill (3 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Skyline High School
All-time record: 421-162-1 (51 years)
Region championships: 21 (1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 co, 1972, 1976, 1978 co, 1979, 1987 co, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 co, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2012 co)
Playoff appearances: 42 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 87-27
State championships: 14 (1967, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005,)
State championship record: 14-6
Felt’s Factoid(s): Skyline holds several playoff records, including most championship game victories (14), most consecutive championships (five), most consecutive playoff wins and most total playoff wins (87). ... The Eagles have never lost a home playoff game (37-0). ... Skyline holds the record for consecutive winning seasons with 24 from 1989 to the present. ... Skyline also holds the record for most consecutive scoring games (262) from 1986-2007.
Felts Facts for Bountiful High School
All-time record: 362-238-8 (57 years)
Region championships: 12 (1959, 1964, 1974 co, 1975 co, 1977 co, 1981 co, 1990, 1999, 2001 co, 2002, 2010, 2012)
Playoff appearances: 37 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 47-31
State championships: 5 (1979, 1990, 1991, 2002, 2003)
State championship record: 5-5
Felt’s Factoid(s): Among active coaches, Larry Wall leads the state in games coached (308), victories (209), and seasons (27). ... Bountiful was the last large school to shut out all its opponents in the playoffs. The Braves blanked all three en route to the 1979 Class 3A title.
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