A slow start for Skyline turned into a display of offensive firepower as the Coyotes opened the 2017 season in convincing fashion, routing Westwood 52-14, in East Valley Region action Friday night.
“We are just young, we are starting five sophomores and when you’re young you make mistakes,” Skyline coach Angelo Paffumi said. “It’s one of those times where we have to grow each week and get better and better.”
Led by junior running back Aaron Wood, the Coyotes went on a 76-yard drive to start the game, capped off by Wood’s two-yard rushing touchdown to put the Coyotes up 7-0 early. The Warriors countered with a 78-yard drive of their own, which ended when senior quarterback Carter Layton found junior running back Junior Sonasi for a 2-yard score.
After forcing a Coyotes punt, Westwood’s offense was once again on the move until an interception by defensive back Alex Arvayo put the Coyotes in striking distance to end the first quarter.
From there, everything clicked for Skyline.
Sophomore quarterback Marcus Brown lined up in wildcat formation and found the end zone from 10 yards out to extend the lead to 14-7. Shortly after, a bad snap on a Westwood punt led to a safety and allowed Skyline senior quarterback Steven Castle to find senior wide out Garrett Lindley for a 27-yard score on the next drive.
Castle had finally found his rhythm. Late in the second quarter, he connected with senior wide out Darius Glover on a 56-yard bomb down the middle of the field. The two would pair up once again for a 61-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
“I respect (Glover) and he respects me,” Castle said. “We just have that chemistry. It’s easy, I know I am able to just throw it and he will go get it. He also knows that I won’t put him in a situation where someone will be able to hit him. It’s like a brotherhood, an unbreakable bond.”
Castle finished the night 196 yards through the air, three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion while Glover finished the night with three receptions for 126 yards and two scores.
Both Wood and Brown would find the end zone again late in the fourth quarter to extend Skyline’s lead. However, despite the lopsided score, Westwood kept fighting. Just before the end of regulation, junior quarterback Jeremiah Stayner found senior wide out Tanner Hornsby for a seven-yard score.
Turnovers were the downfall for the Warriors, stalling successful drives often inside the Coyotes 30-yard line. With three fumbles and two interceptions, new coach Kyle Ide knows where improvements need to be made. Although, one aspect that impressed the Westwood alum the most in his debut, the resiliency shown by his players to keep fighting.
“We talk about competing every play and trying to get better,” Ide said. “We competed tonight but the outcome is obviously not what we wanted. We just have to get better.”
Westwood will look to regroup next week at Copper Canyon, while Skyline looks to continue its success at home against Highland.
– Zach Alvira is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com.
Skyline 52, Westwood 14
Skyline 7 23 8 14 – 63
Westwood 7 0 0 7 – 14
SKY – Wood 4 run (Fessenden), 9:49
WW – Layton 2 pass to Sonasi (K Not Listed), 4:22
SKY – Brown 10 run (Fessenden), 10:52
SKY – Safety, 7:55
SKY – Castle 27 pass to Lindley (Fessenden), 4:22
SKY – Castle 56 pass to Glover (Fessenden), 1:35
SKY – Castle 61 pass to Glover (2 pt. Glover to Manzanares), 8:00
SKY – Wood 3 run (Fessenden), 11:54
SKY – Brown 20 run (Fessenden), 7:07
WW – Stayner 7 pass to Hornsby (K Not Listed), :03
First downs 14 16
Rush-yards 31-214 35-185
Comp-Att-Int 9-18-0 9-14-2
Pass yard 196 61
Total yards 410 246
Fumbles/lost 0/0 4/3
Penalties 6-45 5-30
SKY – Wood 14-75, Brown 4-54, Fernandez 1-7, Lopez 2-11, Truesdell 8-77, Castle 1-1; WW – #5 (Not Listed) 4-15, Sonesi 12-24, Collier 5-44, Layton 8-52, Neeley 6-50
SKY – Castle 9-18-0-196; WW – Layton 6-11-2-33, Stayner 3-3-0-28
SKY – Glover 3-126, Lopez 2-28, Wood 2-11, Lindley 1-27; WW – Sonasi 5-32, Collier 1-5, Hornsby 3-25
SKY – Fessenden (44)