All streaks come to an end eventually. Even if they could not admit it privately or publicly, players and coaches at Skyline understood the state-record scoring streak would one day stop.
The 23 year-old streak did finally met its end last fall in the 5A quarterfinals against Layton. But how it ended did not sit well with the Eagles afterward.
A 49-0 loss to the Lancers felt like a humiliating end to an uneven season and called into questions whether Skyline's era of dominance was truly over.
"It was tough on us," fullback Algernon Brown said. "We really thought we were going to go really far."
Now as the Eagles embark upon writing a new chapter in their football program, they are determined to make it read much like the ones written before.
It all starts with reclaiming Region 2 supremacy and ends with putting themselves in contention for a state title. The Eagles own enough talent and experience on both sides of the ball to make life difficult for other teams. Twelve starters return on offense and defense.
Prominent among returning playmakers is Brown. He had limited carries while sharing the backfield with Kalama Molisi a year ago, but still rushed for 360 yards and seven touchdowns on only 47 carries n good enough for an impressive 7.7 yards per carry.
With Molisi graduated, Brown is expected to get the bulk of the carries in Skyline's option offense. He has gotten bigger, faster and stronger in the offseason, which has teammates believing he'll have little trouble moving the Eagles downfield.
"He's going to take a lot of work off of me," senior quarterback Kevin Wagstaff said. "You can always count on him to get a couple of yards at least."
Wagstaff will be counted on to play a major part in the offense as well. Although this is first year behind center with the varsity team, Wagstaff has plenty of experience when it comes to directing an offense. He has been the starting point guard for the Skyline boys' basketball team over the past couple of seasons.
Those skills, which he honed on the basketball court, should also come into play on the football field.
"He's got a lot of poise and a lot of smarts, so I think he's going to do really well," Eagles coach Roger DuPaix said.
Patience may be in order for Skyline and its fans through the early part of the season. The schedule does the Eagles no favors with non-region games against Highland, Bingham, East, American Fork and Kearns n all of whom were playoff teams a year ago.
A slow start against that slate would be hard for any team to avoid. The Eagles will have to work hard to build early momentum."They're going to be tested, " DuPaix said. "We've got one of our harder schedules we've ever had. "
SKYLINE EAGLES 2008 FOOTBALL PREVIEW
COACH: Roger DuPaix is one of the all-time greats in the Utah high school coaching ranks. DuPaix is 216-56 in his 21 years at Skyline and will be going for his 325 victories overall this season.
KEY PLAYERS: Skyline's option offense should have good players to run it in junior Algernon Brown (RB) and senior Kevin Wagstaff (QB). Both lines look solid also, with team captains Tenny Palepoi (DE) and Dylan Lorimer (OG) heading things up. Glade Snyder (LB) returns to anchor the linebackers
QUESTION MARK: Give DuPaix credit: he does not duck anyone in the preseason. But could a brutal non-region schedule lead to another slow start? If so, what will that mean for Skyline's confidence in an always tough region.
LAST YEAR: 6-5, lost to Layton in 5A quarterfinals.
PREDICTED REGION 2 FINISH: Fourth.POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: Skyline should improve on last year's dismal playoff finish. Having that translate to another state title is another matter. While it's wise to never count the Eagles out, the quarterfinals or semifinals are likely the end of the road for this group.
Aug 22 at Bingham, 7 p.m.
Aug 29 EAST, 7 p.m.
Sept 5 at Highland, 7 p.m.
Sept 12 AMERICAN FORK, 7 p.m.
Sept 19 at Kearns, 7 p.m.
Sept 26 ALTA, 7 p.m.
Oct 3 at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Oct 10 at Taylorsville, 7 p.m.
Oct 17 JORDAN, 7 p.m.Oct 24 at Brighton, 7 p.m.
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