I just had to get it back for my team because I missed a field goal earlier that would've really helped us out in our situation. —Sky View's Cole Stokes
HYRUM — Nobody in Hollywood could've scripted a more dramatic sports-movie ending than this one.
Sky View's Cole Stokes plunged into the end zone from inches away on the game's final play, and the Bobcats escaped with an emotion-charged 16-13 victory over Cache Valley rival Mountain Crest on a chilly Friday night in a battle of two unbeaten teams that were ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the state's 4A ranks.
"I just had to get it back for my team because I missed a field goal earlier that would've really helped us out in our situation," Stokes said, "instead of being down and them driving on us (to the Sky View 1-yard line). So I just said I had to get it for my teammates, and I got it.
"This win just means so much to our team, not only that we're ranked really high in state, both of us, but just our rivalry and it's such a big game to come out and play Mountain Crest, especially when they're this good. And it just means a lot to win."
Stokes' game-winning score capped a gritty 99-yard drive by top-ranked Sky View, whose defense rose up to stop what would've been a clinching Mountain Crest touchdown a yard short of the goal line, then rode the clutch passing of senior quarterback Jackson Siddoway downfield in the final 3:44 to set up Stokes' decisive TD.
Siddoway completed critical passes to Ryder Lundahl, Stokes, Jake Dygert and sophomore Mason Falslev, who had three catches on the drive, including a gigantic 44-yard completion that vaulted the Bobcats all the way to the Mountain Crest 5-yard line in the final minute.
"I was just so happy I caught it," said Falslev, whose 21-yard TD reception with 1:11 remaining in the first half had given the 'Cats a 10-6 halftime lead. "I was so tired from running.
"I thought I was gonna get in (the end zone)," he said of his key catch that set up Stokes' winning score. "That was awesome — great throw by Sidd."
While the victory improves Sky View's perfect record to 2-0 in Region 12 and 6-0 overall, first-year head coach Danilo Robinson wasn't about to declare the Bobcats as the best 4A team in the state.
"We won one game, we won a tough game, but it just keeps building from here," he said. "We're not gonna be able to sneak up on anybody; we're not gonna be able to have a night off. Everyone's gonna give us their best.
"We proved that we can get that one yard in, and from there we've gotta keep climbing the mountain here.
"It's a huge win," said Robinson. "That's a good team. (Mountain Crest) coach (Jason) Lee and those guys do a great job, so it's a huge win for us and our program. It gives us the confidence to kinda keep building here and keep going in the right direction."
It was a see-saw struggle from the start, and both teams' defenses made it tough for their opponents to put points on the scoreboard — something they hadn't had much trouble doing through the first five weeks of the season, when the Mustangs (5-1 overall, 1-1 Region 12) averaged over 36 points per game and the Bobcats were scoring at a 33.4 ppg clip.
After a scoreless first quarter, Stokes' 23-yard field goal gave Sky View a 3-0 lead before Mountain Crest's Creedyn Foulger hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brady Hall for a 6-3 lead after the PAT kick was blocked.
Siddoway's TD toss to Falslev made it 10-6 for the 'Cats at halftime, but the Mustangs regained a 13-10 lead in the third quarter when Hall hooked up with Cameron Moser on a pretty 38-yard touchdown pass.
Things stayed that way until Sky View staged its tense 99-yard scoring drive in the frantic final minutes.
"I'm just thanking our coaches for prepping us and having us do two-minute drill all the time," said Stokes, who missed a potential game-tying field goal with 9:16 to go in the fourth quarter, "so we can be able to perform in situations like that and get the 'W' like we did tonight.
"There was no doubt; we practice for situations like this all the time, and we've got to give it to coach Robinson. He's been working us hard, and that's what's been helping us to win these games."
Stokes said Robinson originally wanted to throw for the winning TD, but the team talked him out of it.Comment on this story
"Coach came over and he was like, 'We're gonna pass it! We're gonna pass it!' " Stokes said. "And everybody unanimously just said, 'Let's just run it and get it in.' And that's how we decided."
Robinson admitted he considered a game-tying field goal before deciding to go for the win instead.
"There was a lot of thoughts of kicking it," he said, "but the kids just really executed well there at the end to give us a chance. We have to be able to get something like that, so we're excited about how it turned out and we're gonna keep building from here."