By the time 6-foot-8, 310-pound William Poehls — a mohawked right tackle masquerading as a tailback near the goal line — barreled his way into the end zone late in the third quarter, Chandler’s season-opening rout of Mesa Skyline was a laugher.
But Chandler coach Jim Ewan failed to find the humor after his favored team threw two interceptions, absorbed 180 yards in penalties and led by just 14 points at halftime.
“We never got into a rhythm. We expected to play better offensively coming in,” Ewan said after the Wolves’ 30-6 win Friday at Chandler. “We have to fix some of these things. With the people we have to play this year, we’re not going to get away with this.”
Penalties limited Chandler’s offensive output throughout the evening. The Wolves (1-0) were flagged 15 times for 125 yards in the first half alone. On one first-half possession, they drove to the Skyline 14-yard line before a series of penalties forced them all the way back onto their side of midfield.
But Skyline failed to take advantage, as it was overmatched in its return to 5A-I. The Coyotes managed just 101 yards of total offense until putting together a 98-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.
Chandler’s defense limited Skyline to just three plays on the first three possessions of the second half as the Wolves stretched their 14-point halftime lead to 30.
“It was 11 hats to the ball,” Chandler receiver Michael Jordan said. “That’s what the D is supposed to do.”
Chandler quarterback Kyle Yount picked up where he left off last fall, completing 15 of 23 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw two interceptions, prompting Ewan to temper his enthusiasm for the outing.
“He made some good plays, and he made a couple plays that we’ll need to study on film,” Ewan said. “That’s going to happen. We need a little bit more from him, but most of the night he did really well with it.”
On one possession late in the first half, Yount connected with the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Jordan on three consecutive plays that netted the Wolves 73 yards. Jordan wrestled the final hookup away from a defensive back in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown that gave Chandler a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.
Yount didn’t focus solely on Jordan. He spread the ball among a stable of big, physical receivers.
Six players caught passes, with Jordan and juniors Brett Hundley and Malcolm Holland each hauling in three or more. And Arizona State commit Taylor Walstad gained 125 yards and scored twice on 12 carries.
“We have a lot of athletes. We’re big and we can catch,” Jordan said. “We’re a bunch of up-and-coming guys. We work hard, and hopefully it shows out on the field.”
“We do have some talent at that position,” he said. “We may not have the marquee name like in years past, but by midseason we’ll have a couple of kids there that people will have to take note of.”
LIVE IN-GAME UPDATES
Chandler 7, Skyline 0: Taylor Walstad takes an option pitch and goes 74 yards for a TD three minutes into the game.
Chandler 14, Skyline 0: Michael Jordan hauls in a 19-yard TD pass from Kyle Yount, wrestling it away from a DB in the end zone. Jordan had three straight catches of 48, 6 and 19 yards during the 90-yard drive. Less than 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
First-half stats: Skyline has only 85 yards of total offense. Chandler has committed 12 penalties for 125 yards. At one point, they faced a second-and-50 from their own 46 after having first-and-goal from the 4. Chandler QB Kyle Yount threw an interception on his first attempt but is now 12-for-17 for 182 yards and a TD.
Chandler 20, Skyline 0: After Chandler recovered a Skyline fumble on the second-half kickoff, the Wolves' four-play drive was capped off with Taylor Walstad's 2-yard TD run, his second of the night. The extra point was no good, but it's 20-0 Wolves.
Chandler 27, Skyline 0: Chandler's 6-foot, 310-pound right tackle William Poehls takes a handoff and scores on 2-yard TD run to give the Wolves a 27-0 lead.
Chandler still leads 27-0 going into the fourth quarter. Both teams now have the backup quarterback in.
A 34-yard field goal by Alberto Farfan puts Chandler ahead 30-0 in the fourth quarter. Brett Hundley is in the game at QB for the Wolves.
Skyline gets on the board with a 12-yard run from Austin McGrath, cutting Chandler's lead to 30-6 in the fourth quarter.
Skyline (0-0) at Chandler (0-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Address: 350 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler
Key matchup: Quarterback Mike Bailey is the only returning player to have scored a Varsity touchdown for Skyline, so he’s going to have to go crazy passing and running on Chandler’s defense to keep this close.
Key stat: The Coyotes graduated 2,291 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns between Damari Lewis and Thomas Brown.
The intrigue: On paper, Skyline’s 5A-I debut doesn’t look promising on the road against the bigger, faster Wolves, but the Coyotes knew they were going to take their lumps to begin the season before Desert Valley Region play begins. It’s probably a good thing Skyline doesn’t have this game counting in the power points race.