The bad thing about playing a Week Zero game is that weaknesses get exposed early. The good thing is that those weaknesses get exposed so they can be corrected.
In the Skyline High School football team’s 23-0 loss to Mountain Vista, the Falcons’ offensive line found out they’ve got some things to work on.
Quarterback Cody Ganz was sacked six times, and of the 28 carries by the running backs, 12 went for negative yardage.
“It is a concern,” Skyline coach Bob Knapton said. “We have to get that squared away.”
Knapton is concerned because the play of the offensive line is crucial to the success of an offense. He is not concerned, however, with the talent he has playing in those spots.
“They can be pretty good,” Knapton said.
Actually, there is very good potential on the front line. Senior Alex Ault (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) and sophomore Nate Czapran (6-4, 240) have great size at tackle. Junior center Eric Bustillos (5-9, 255) and junior guards Mac Lundquist (5-9, 205) and Mark Landolt (5-8, 165) have good skill in the interior.
An offensive line takes some time to jell, though, and only Ault and Lundquist started a year ago.
“I’m really confident with my line,” Ganz said. “(Friday) night didn’t prove what they can do.”
Skyline’s offensive line had a great summer at the Wyoming camp, winning the pass-rushing championship, Ganz said. Going up against roughly 30 teams, the Falcons were the best at keeping opposing defenses away from a blocking dummy that posed as a quarterback.
There’s a variety of reasons why that didn’t translate to last Friday’s game. For one, the Falcons are still learning new blocking schemes and that takes some time.
“We need to pick it up and we need to get on those guys and work on our blocking schemes,” Knapton said.
Another reason was fatigue. In the first half, Ganz completed 4-of-5 passes for 57 yards and wasn’t sacked until the final play of the half. After intermission, he was sacked five times and in turn went 0-for-6 on his passes.
“They did really good in the first half,” Ganz said. “We haven’t been able to get our conditioning and in the second half, you could see that they were dogging it.”
Fundamentally, the Falcons simply ran into a good defense and got pushed around.
“After a while, they got manhandled,” Knapton said. “(Mountain Vista) did a good job and some of our guys weren’t firing off. We have to get them more aggressive.”
Considering the youth and inexperience of the Falcons’ offensive line, there’s every reason to believe they’ll get better.
“I think it’s correctable,” Knapton said. “Our line still has to downblock and push people out of the way. When it comes down do it, you have to have the basic blocks, no matter what offense you run.
“(Friday’s performance) is a positive. In the next game we play, now they’ve got a taste of what it’s like to face one of the best D-lines around. Now we know we have to correct that. Somewhere down the line you’re going to play another D-line like that.”
No doubt, the Falcons will work hard this week on making those blocks, and they’ll get a chance to show what they’ve learned on Friday against rival Silver Creek at Everly-Montgomery Field.
“They’ll be a lot better,” Ganz said. “We already started going over the things after the game (Friday night) that we need to work on.”
They’ve got the skills: On the positive side for Skyline, several of its skill-position players looked very good at times against Mountain Vista.
Ganz threw the ball well early, and receiver Marcus Padilla flashed his speed — he won the Class 4A 200-meter state title in May — with a 36-yard reception in the second quarter.
When running back Colton Lehl got a hole to run through, he made it count. He had runs of 11, 25 and 29 yards. Cameron Tafoya added a 26-yard run.
Ready to start over: Although Faith Baptist was disappointed to see its winning streak come to a close last Friday, it wasn’t much of a surprise.
“That it hasn’t happened before this is a blessing to us,” coach Randy Peterson said.
Longmont Christian ended the Pioneers’ 34-game streak with a 44-14 win Friday.
With Longmont Christian returning just about everybody from a Class A-8 man Central League title and Faith Baptist short on experience, the recipe was right for a Pioneers loss.
“(The players) knew that the cohesiveness and the chemistry couldn’t be there, just because we are replacing so many people,” Peterson said.
The end of the streak may be a good thing for this young Pioneers squad, as they no longer have to worry about a streak.
“They can now focus on next game, next game, next game,” Peterson said.
The next game is Saturday (1 p.m.) at home against Mountain Valley.
“(Friday) night they started talking about starting a new streak,” Peterson said. “This team can still have a very good, respectable season. We have kids in the mix that can get it going in the other direction.”