To quote Skyline Coach Roger Dupaix following the Eagles' 50-0 rout of Granger in Saturday's 4A prep football quarterfinals: "That's how you win games - you execute."
What a choice of words. We're talking major capital punishment on the artifical turf of Rice Stadium. It's like the Lancers were given a blind fold and taken to the firing line - and then denied any last requests.Top-ranked Skyline, now with a 10-1 overall record, had quarterback Joey Dupaix rush for two touchdowns and pass for a third, while Jake Marshall ran for three TDs.
Skyline, averaging 37 points a game while allowing just 11 per contest, advances to next week's semifinals against Clearfield, with the Falcons winning Saturday's other 4A quarterfinal with a 20-17 victory over Orem. Granger finishes the season with a 7-4 record.
The Eagles jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead, with the Skyline defense holding Granger to 55 yards total offense - including zero rushing yards. Consider that Skyline started scoring possessions at the Granger 42-yard line, the Granger 38, the Granger 30, the Granger 41 and the Skyline 28 - and all those possessions followed Lancer punts, mind you.
In rapid-fire succession, here's how Skyline scored - a 20-yard run by Dupaix, a 38-yard pass from Dupaix to Brian Alba, a 5-yard run by Dupaix, a 15-yard run by Marshall and four PAT kicks and a 39-yard field goal by Branden Jones.
Skyline added 19 more points in the second half - a pair of 3-yard TD runs by Marshall, one Jones PAT and a 7-yard scoring run by backup QB Scott Vincent.
The Eagles ended up outgaining the Lancers 391 yards to 170 in total offense. Dupaix led all rushers with 76 yards on 9 carries, adding 63 passing yards on 3-of-8 throwing. Shawn Peterson led Granger with 64 yards on 10 carries.
Granger success was limited at best. The Lancers recovered an onsides kick on the game's opening kickoff, and then made it down to Skyline's 40-yard line - the only two times in the decisive first-half when Granger made it into Eagle territory. But that success was short-lived - the Lancers had to punt after the former possession and then suffered an interception on the next play of the latter possession.
More woes for Granger - the Lancers were whistled eight penalties for 102 yards, including some half-dozen major misconduct penalties and two player ejections.
Clearfield 20, Orem 17
Finally - a 4A quarterfinal proved to be a bona fide back-and-forth battle, where each scoring play meant a change of leads and change of emotions and the outcome coming down to the kicking game.
Clearfield survived a 10-yard punt late in the fourth quarter, allowing Orem a potential game-tying or game-winning drive to start on the Falcons' 39-yard line. And the Tigers failed to tie the game twice in the final four minutes - on a pair of missed 32-yard field goal attempts - the second try coming on the game's final play.
Jeff Kirkman, Clearfield's standout RB/DB/return specialist, set up the Falcons' game-winning TD in the fourth quarter, intercepting an Orem pass at the Tiger 35 and returning it to the 12. Two plays later, Kirkman rambled 7 yards for the touchdown, which coupled with Travis Leifeste's PAT kick, turned a 17-13 Orem advantage into a 20-17 Clearfield lead.
Orem looked to tie the game on its next possession, but kicker Brandon Inouye misfired on a 32-yard field goal with 3:46 remaining in the game. Orem forced Clearfield to punt, with the 10-yarder giving the Tigers the ball on the Falcons' 39.
Orem drove to the 5, and QB Travis Nelson was sacked on third-and-goal by Shay Taggart with :15 to play, as Orem coaches complained that a defensive holding infraction wasn't called on the play.
Instead, the Tigers had to settle on another Inouye 32-yard FG attempt - a low line drive that was easily blocked to end the game.
Clearfield advances to the 4A semifinals with an 8-3 record, while Region 3 champion Orem ends with a 7-3 mark.
Orem took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Inouye, with Clearfield answering in the second period on a 3-yard pass from Leifeste to Tony Cussimanio with :05 left before halftime. A missed PAT kick kept the Falcons' advantage at 6-3.
The Tigers scored a TD on their opening possession of the second quarter, with Rob Harding scoring from 2 yards out and Inouye booting the PAT for the 10-6 lead. Clearfield countered immediately with one of the signature special-teams returns for a touchdown - this time, Jason Bremer returned the Orem kickoff 85 yards for a score, with Leifeste's point-after making it a 13-10 margin for the Falcons.
After the two teams swapped punts, Orem scored another third-period TD, which was set up in part by a 62-yard pass from Nelson to Travis Huntsman. Nelson later scored on a 4-yard run, with Inouye's kick making the score 17-13, Orem.
Orem outgained Clearfield in total offense, 312 yards to 241, with the Tigers' Ed Jarvis gaining 133 yards on 15 carries. But Orem's woe was a lack of scoring - beyond the missed FGs - as the Tigers couldn't sustain drives into TDs.
The Falcons' quarterfinal win comes on the heels of last week's controversial victory against West Jordan, where a blocked field goal was returned for a TD by Kirkham after the ball was kicked by a teammate - a violation of the rules whether inadvertant or not.
"We heard the rumors going around that we shouldn't be here," said Kirkman. "But we belong - just look at tonight's score."