We wanted to win this one really bad. My class had never beaten Olympus and we wanted to finish at home with a bang. —Skyline quarterback Tommy McGrath
MILLCREEK — The Skyline athletic department must have had some inside information when it scheduled fireworks to conclude the Eagles’ home finale vs. rival Olympus on Friday.
Turns out, fans in attendance got to see fireworks both on and off the field as quarterback Tommy McGrath lit up the scoreboard, and the highlight reel, as Skyline took home “The Rock” for the first time in four tries with a 45-39 victory.
“We wanted to win this one really bad,” McGrath said. “My class had never beaten Olympus and we wanted to finish at home with a bang.”
McGrath completed 19 of 31 passing attempts for 339 yards and a school-record six touchdown passes. Head coach Zac Erekson said McGrath’s performance was outstanding and he’s proud of the improvement he’s witnessed in his senior quarterback during the season.
“It’s been great to see his progress this year. He’s come such a long way and it’s been really exciting to watch,” Erekson said. He added that McGrath is maturing and learning the game in a way that gives the coaching staff added insight for play calling.
The Titans came to play and the game was neck and neck during the first half. Oly even held the lead early in the second half, but a costly turnover swung the momentum to the Eagles and Skyline never looked back.
The Eagles came out slinging on their first possession. McGrath connected on passes of 37, 15, 15 yards, before drilling home a one-yard touchdown pass to Binford Briggs for a 7-0 lead with 8:39 to play in the first. The 10-play scoring drive went 80 yards.
Olympus answered with an 81-yard scoring drive of its own. Taking advantage of a powerful rushing attack, the Titans moved the ball down the field and Everett Vea scored on a three-yard run. Tony Foulger’s kick attempt failed, leaving the score 7-6 with 10:31 to play in the second.
McGrath’s second touchdown pass — this one an 8-yard strike to Yioti Karahalios— gave the Eagles a 14-6 lead two and a half minutes later. The 81-yard drive took nine plays, including McGrath completions of 24 and 15 yards.
McGrath’s counterpart, Harrison Creer, made it interesting again when he hit Vea for a five-yard touchdown pass with 5:31 to play in the second and Olympus trailed 14-13.
McGrath hit Taylor Larsen for a 13-yard touchdown pass and a 21-13 lead with 2:52 to play in the half, but Creer drove the Titans down the field and scored from the 1 as time expired to send the teams to the locker room with Olympus trailing 21-19.
The Titans built a 26-21 lead early in the third when Creer called his own number again and scored on a two-yard run, but McGrath put Skyline back in control when he hit Karahalios once again for a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 28-26 lead.
Robbie Ballam fielded the kickoff and coughed up the ball, which landed squarely in the hands of Chris Dudley. The fumble gave all the momentum to the Eagles who never looked back.
McGrath hit Briggs again for a 23-yard touchdown pass and a 35-26 lead with 4:25 in the third and he connected with Larsen for a 25-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
Trailing 45-33 with 1:30 to play, Creer led a touchdown drive for the final points. He hit Nick Ward for a 13-yard touchdown pass as time expired and Skyline walked away with the win.
“This means everything to our school,” McGrath said. “Now we can go down to Lehi and try to win a share of region.”
Father Tim Yanni is an Episcopal priest and the chaplain at Ogden Regional Medical Center. He attended seminary in Berkeley, CA. He is passionate about prep sports and journalism. Email: [email protected].