Lofton Lechner is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University covering Skyline High School athletics.
For the third time in five weeks, Skyline’s offense was unable to put up any fight. The Coyotes were shutout for the third time this season as the Corona del Sol Aztecs dominated every aspect of play on Friday night.
The 45-0 6A East Valley section opening win for the Aztecs was their first of the season after a rough 0-4 start in non-section play. The Coyotes fall to 0-5 after only scoring 11 total points in their first five weeks.
Throughout the night the Corona del Sol’s defense imposed their will on Skyline’s offense. The Aztecs forced the Coyotes to go three and out on two of their nine drives. Four of those other seven drives ended in a Skyline turnover.
The Aztecs’ defense forced and recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes. One of those was intercepted by senior linebacker Jeff Lambert who returned the ball 35 yards for the Corona del Sol touchdown. The Aztecs only gave up five first downs all night and allowed an unofficial 77 yards of total offense from the Coyotes.
Skyline junior Hector Dominguez was starting at quarterback for the first time all season and was making his first appearance since his knee injury before Week 2.
Throughout the night, Dominguez was forced to scramble as Skyline’s offensive line was unable to contain the Aztecs’ defensive line. With a new quarterback under center for the Coyotes they were only able to throw the ball 10 times. Dominguez finished the night with 9 passing yards and 8 rushing yards. Dominguez also had one fumble lost and threw two interceptions.
“First half we did alright. [We had] Silly mistakes that we have to fix in practice,” said Dominguez. “Second half I think the offensive line stepped up. We got pretty good drives here and there.”
The Aztecs’ offense was unstoppable all night, scoring on all but one of their offensive drives. This offense was powered by the duo of junior running back Jonathan Kubat and sophomore quarterback Connor Ackerley. Ackerley consistently connected on long passes when he needed to. Two of those passes from Ackerley were 28 and 29- yard strikes that set up one- yard rushes from Kubat. Ackerley finished the night with an unofficial 124 passing yards on nine attempts for two touchdowns. Ackerley also added another 11 yards with his legs.
On the first play from scrimmage Kubat took the handoff and went straight up the gut of the Skyline defense, breaking through the second level before sprinting away for the 67- yard touchdown run. This touchdown run would only foreshadow how the rest of the game would go. Kubat would hit 100 rushing yards before the first quarter came to an end. He ended the night with an unofficial 131 rushing yards on nine carries for three touchdowns. Kubat did not play the entire second half.
Corona del Sol was able to put the game away before the first half came to an end. With 5:11 remaining in the second quarter junior kicker Carston Kieffer put the nail in the coffin with a season- high 54- yard field goal kick. This made the score 38-0 Aztecs. Nearly two minutes later Lambert would score the pick six and increase the Aztec lead to 45 with 3:20 remaining in the second quarter. After this score a running clock was implemented into the game.
Skyline junior defensive lineman Chaz Ponce is looking for his team to step up in their upcoming practices as they continue to look for their first win this season.
“Just train. Hard work, no more slacking at practice. Just a lot more hard work,” Ponce said.
Skyline’s head coach George Hawthorne has a similar sentiment to Ponce, and is looking to continue to build up his team even in the disappointing season.
“The only thing we can do is to continue to practice hard and continue to try and get better,” Hawthorne said. “We come out everyday and give our best. That's the only thing we can do, is [to] continue to give our best.”
Skyline will continue to search for its first win as they take on the Tucson High Magnet School Badgers in Tucson at 7 p.m. next Friday. The Corona del Sol Aztecs will host Mesa next Friday at 7.