SMITHFIELD Sky View High unveiled its refurbished stadium on Friday night, complete with fancy new turf, a new track and brighter lights.
But none of the additions sparkled quite like the Bobcats' defense.
Sky View kept Logan, which boasts one of the state's most prolific offenses, in check for four quarters in a 28-7 win over its Cache Valley rival. The Bobcats intercepted Grizzlies quarterback Jeff Manning four times and recorded three sacks in what was expected to be a much closer, high-scoring game.
"The defense sure did an unbelievable job," said Sky View jack-of-all-trades player J.D. Falslev. "They stepped it up. Best defense in the state no doubt in my mind."
That statement might not be all that far-fetched when you consider how Sky View handled Logan on Friday night. The Grizzlies, who were without top wideout Zach Skabelund because of a hand injury, averaged 38 points in their first two games. They had some success moving the ball against the Bobcats but couldn't get in the end zone or make a field goal when the outcome was still in doubt.
Brayden Compton and Zach Saxton each had two interceptions. Compton provided the game's turning point when he returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The score gave Sky View a 14-0 lead, and it energized a defense that was already playing quite well.
"It's good to come up with some big plays in a big game like this,' Compton said. "I made a good read on the ball and took it back to the house. It feels great."
The Bobcats didn't let Manning, who's widely regarded as the state's top quarterback, get comfortable in the game. Their defensive line put relentless pressure on him, and defensive tackle Eric Bernston had all three of the team's sacks. Sky View recorded three of its interceptions of Manning in the third quarter.
"That was a big thing for us putting pressure on Jeff Manning," Compton said. "We were hoping to put him in situations where he wasn't comfortable and we were able to do that. The D-line played great."
Sky View struggled on offense in the first half before Falslev sparked it with a sensational 46-yard punt return. It gave the Bobcats good field position, and Quarterback Kyler Carlsen soon scored the first of his three touchdowns with a 7-yard run.
The Grizzlies tried to answer with a 12-play drive that was kept alive on a 15-yard penalty on a late hit on Manning on a third down, and a pass-interference penalty on another third down. Logan drove to Sky View's 12-yard line before missing the first of two field goal attempts in the game.
That was a boost for Sky View, and an early momentum changer in the contest.
"Bad things happened and we just kept pushing," Falslev said. "We didn't execute to our potential, but when bad things happened, we just played through them."
Manning rus3hed 27 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. He completed 23-of-47 passes for 221 yards. His top target was Josh Thompson, who had eight catches for 101 yards.
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