The Skyline Eagles are the traditional power in Utah, but have had the throne wrested away in recent years largely by the Bingham Miners. But in a shocking 24-17 upset Friday night at Skyline, the Eagles threw a monkey wrench into the Miners' plans.
Picked by many to finish somewhere in the middle of Region 2, the Eagles avenged a difficult 34-7 home loss to Bingham to open the 2007 season. Head coach Roger Dupaix knew that his team was in for a challenge against a team picked by many to take the state title this year.
"You never know how the teams are going to perform, but I'm really proud of our team," Dupaix said after the game. "Bingham is so good that I was hoping we could stay with them for a while. But you just don't know what's going to happen in the first game."
First-time quarterback Kevin Wagstaff operated Skyline's traditional option-offense like a seasoned veteran, running for the game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter and a two-point conversion earlier. He also made a few big plays with his arm, including a 57-yard touchdown bomb to Caleb Latteier that put the Eagles up 9-3 in the second quarter.
The Miners' offense was it's own worst enemy throughout the night, committing several crucial penalties and never finding a rhythm. First-time starter Jake Soffe was harassed throughout the night by the Eagles' defensive line, the same group of characters that also made running difficult for Bingham running backs LT Filiaga and Harvey Langi.
Bingham would have their chances late, but three sacks (including two by linebacker Carter Craigo) and a botched fake punt left them unable to pull even with Skyline.
"This game showed we're playing pretty well, and we can play with the big dogs," Wagstaff said. "We're not afraid of anybody. We wanted to come out and make a statement, and we did that."
After his long bomb to Latteier in the first and a lengthy scoring drive for the Miners, Wagstaff found Jeff Daw deep for a 47-yard gain, giving the Eagles a first-and-goal at the four yard-line as halftime approached. Algernon Brown would puncture the end zone from the one, followed by a two-point conversation on a Wagstaff option keeper.
The half ended after Latteier picked off Soffe's prayer toss.
In the third quarter both teams brought out their traditional power running games. Bingham helped themselves to the first seven minutes, running only one pass play as they drove the ball 70 yards for an eventual short touchdown by Langi. Skyline then took 7 minutes of their own, in the critical drive that spanned the remaining five minutes of the third quarter and a couple in the fourth as well.
After Wagstaff's sneak into the end zone gave Skyline the deciding 24-17 advantage, the Eagles' defense suffocated Bingham the rest of the way. When the Miners' failed on a fake punt pass with four minutes left, the upset was all but written.