Lofton Lechner is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University covering Skyline High School athletics.
For the third week in a row the Skyline Coyotes football team found it hard to put points on the board. They managed to only gain an unofficial 65 yards of total offense in their Friday Night matchup against Mountain View.
The Coyotes fell to the Mountain View Toro’s 41-0, resulting in their third loss of the season, and the second one they have been shutout in. The Toro’s are now 3-0 and are yet to allow a point to opposing teams this season.
Skyline's lack of a true quarterback and offensive miscues stopped the offense from developing any sort of rhythm or tempo throughout the game. Sophomore Gabe Tapia and senior Sean Mamdeen threw for a combined 2 unofficial yards on 9 attempts. Only two passes were completed all day for the Coyotes, who had a number of drops in the second half.
“I need time. But at the same time when I have time I gotta make good reads… and my receivers gotta execute the catches,” Tapia said after the loss.
The lack of any passing game has forced Skyline to become a one-dimensional run-first offense that the Mountain View defense was prepared for. Throughout the game the Toro’s would stack the box on early downs, and would consistently win the battle in the trenches. The defensive line for the Toros caused Skyline to have no time when throwing the ball and no big gaps to run through.
In the Coyotes’ nine offensive drives they were held to just 3 total first downs on the entire night and had a fumble recovered by the Toros. Two of those first downs only came due to defensive penalties from Mountain View. Skyline didn't have a first down in the entire first half.
Skyline's defense was able to keep the team in the game for the majority of the first 3 quarters, holding Mountain View to just 20 points halfway through.
Thanks to a sack by sophomore captain Alex Sargent, the Toro’s were forced to punt on their opening drive. Sargent led Skyline’s defense to a strong start, holding the Toro’s to 6 points and two three and outs out of their first three possessions of the game.
“Our defense has been going from little to big and we gotta keep going,” said Sargent. “Practice is tough, but you just gotta push through.”
That early defense from Skyline wasn't enough to stop the Mountain View offense. Slowly, but surely Mountain View’s offense established themselves into the game. Leading 6-0 with 6:41 left in the second quarter, sophomore backup quarterback Jack Germain drove the Toro offense down to the Skyline 3 yard line. On third and goal senior Aiden Damiani punched in the football for a Mountain View touchdown. Mountain View would score once more before halftime, leading Skyline 20-0.
Mountain View would only score once in the 3rd quarter, but would put the game away early in the fourth. With 10:30 left in the fourth quarter and Mountain View leading 28-0, Damiani turned what looked like to be a big stop behind the line of scrimmage from the Coyote defense into 6 points for the Toro’s. On third and long with the Coyotes blitzing and reading the option from the Toro offense, Damiani ducked one tackle, breaking another, before bursting through the middle of the Skyline defense for the touchdown. This made the score 34-0 and sealed the win for Mountain View.
This 12- yard touchdown run capped off an unofficial 84-yard, three touchdown night for Damiani.
Damiani wasn't the only Mountain View player who had success on offense though. Senior quarterback Willy Roberts completed eight of 13 passes and had an unofficial 146 passing yards with one touchdown. That touchdown was caught by junior tight end Jackson Bowers who also had 3 catches for an unofficial 99 yards.
After the game Skyline head coach George Hawthorne pointed to his team's toughness as an area for improvement.
“Our problem is just mental and physical toughness,” Hawthorne said. “It is inside each player. Each player has to decide to be mentally and physically tougher.”
Skyline continues to look for its first win, as they travel on the road to play at 0-3 Tolleson next Friday at 7 p.m.. The Mountain View Toros will play at Mesa next Friday at 7 in an attempt to keep their undefeated season intact.