DRAPER Skyline has spent plenty of seasons watching region rivals Brighton, Jordan and Alta rise up and claim state titles and generally dominate in boys soccer.
This season, the Eagles feel like they have a new offense that could finally put them in the same class as those elite peers.
"We have a different style of play that everybody isn't aware of," said senior midfielder Kody King. "We play really fast and if we keep everything one-two touch, we can work the ball really well."
Skyline's new-and-improved attack certainly caught Juan Diego off-guard. The Eagles took control quickly with a pair of early goals and held off a late Soaring Eagle rally for a 3-2 victory at Juan Diego High on Thursday afternoon.
Playing from center midfield, King initiated Skyline's first two goals. He fed Adison Rice a pass in the 14th minute. Rice spun around and let it go from about 30 yards out for a 1-0 lead. King pushed it to 2-0 three minutes later after sending a high floater over the head of goalkeeper Cory Thibeault.
Skyline jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 50th minute when a corner kick ricocheted out to Andrus Jones and he sent the ball back into the net like a slingshot.
The Eagles expertly controlled possession throughout the first half. They kept things simple with crisp and quick passes and prevented Juan Diego from crossing midfield with any degree of consistency.
By the time the Soaring Eagle discovered out how to initiate attacks against the scheme, the young and inexperienced group had already lost a crucial amount of ground.
"They definitely weren't prepared for it," King said. "They play on turf and try to play fast. But we came and showed them what we could do."
Juan Diego seemed prepared enough during the second half to make things interesting in the final minutes. Eric Malouf broke the ice with a goal in the 62nd minute. Then Malouf, a sophomore, fired in another from long distance in the 66th minute to narrow it to a 3-2 Skyline advantage.
First-year Eagles coach Alan Jones took blame for the letdown. Jones used that time to make lineup adjustments and try players at new positions. Some moves worked better than others.
"I did a couple of experiments that kind of backfired a little bit," Jones said.
First-year Eagles coach Alan Jones is pleased with what he has seen from Skyline so far. The players are filled with confidence, Jones said, because they think they have enough talent to be more of a factor in Region 2 this season."I've got nine kids that have won state championships on this team," Jones said. "They rightfully so have a positive outlook."