LONGMONT — At the time, the Skyline High School football team didn’t enjoy playing a Week Zero game.
On Friday, the Falcons reaped the benefits, rolling past Silver Creek, 27-0, at Everly-Montgomery Field in the second meeting ever between the city rivals.
“We fixed the mistakes (from a 23-0 loss to Mountain View on Aug. 26) in
practice, and we came out here and gave it our best and came out victorious,” Skyline junior Mike Vaca said.
A year ago, Skyline held its breath as Silver Creek dropped a potential touchdown pass in the end zone on the final play, giving the Falcons a 15-14 win.
This year, it wasn’t close, as Skyline (1-1) forced seven turnovers and held the Raptors (0-1) to 59 yards in total offense and four first downs.
“I thought our defense did a good job last week,” coach Bob Knapton said. “But we needed this to get some confidence.”
Skyline spent all evening making the debut of Silver Creek quarterback Tyler Keith a miserable one. The junior completed just six of 19 passes for 46 yards and was intercepted five times. He was also sacked three times and pressured on numerous other occasions.
“Our line couldn’t block anybody, me included,” Silver Creek guard/linebacker John McGee said. “When you can’t block anybody, your quarterback is going to have a bad game.”
Skyline’s Matt Gonzales intercepted a pass in the first quarter to set up a Falcon touchdown. Vaca also had a couple of interceptions from his safety position and said his job was made easier by the big boys on the defensive line.
“They put so much pressure on (Keith) and made him make bad decisions,” Vaca said. “It was easy reading him.”
Keith’s night was only part of the dismal start for the Raptors, though. They finished with 13 yards rushing on 23 carries and needed 15 yards on their final drive to get above zero.
Silver Creek also fumbled twice and couldn’t keep the Falcons out of the end zone. The Raptors’ first fumble came on the second-half kickoff. Skyline’s Derrick Schmidt recovered and ran it back to the 16, setting up a Falcon touchdown.
“This is worse (than last year),” McGee said. “We got worked over for 48 minutes. We got outplayed.”
The result was shocking to the Raptors, who have high hopes after reaching the postseason last year.
“You can’t play any worse,” Silver Creek coach Mike Apodaca said. “But I still believe we have a good group and they’ll regroup.”
Skyline, on the other hand, couldn’t have been happier.
“This was phenomenal,” linebacker Ryan Dittman said. “It feels great.”
The Falcons didn’t dazzle on offense, but they were efficient, scoring a touchdown in each quarter.
Cade Lehl, who finished with 59 yards on 10 carries, got the Falcons on the board with a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“We just came and knew they were coming out to get us (after last year),” Lehl said. “This is really big.”
Ben Wilson threw a touchdown pass to Mike Holle on a halfback pass in the second quarter. Then Cody Ganz connected with Gabe Knapton on a touchdown pass in the third quarter, giving the Falcons a 20-0 lead shortly after Schmidt’s fumble recovery.
Cameron Tafoya capped the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Skyline finished with just 175 yards in offense but saw quite a bit of improvement from last week, especially up front.
“I’m a little happier with the offensive line,” coach Knapton said. “The effort there was a lot better.”
Now the Falcons will get to enjoy the biggest benefit of all from playing in Week Zero. After Friday’s big win, the Falcons get a week off before playing Ranum on Sept. 15.
“This is huge because you have two weeks off,” coach Knapton said. “You don’t want to go into two weeks off after a loss.”