While Brighton quarterback Sean Hagen was looking like Marshall Faulk, Skyline was looking for Peter Falk. The fact is, even Columbo couldn't have solved Hagen's secret Friday night as the Bengals earned a 15-9 victory over the Eagles in the Region 2 opener for both schools.
Brighton's win was its first over Skyline since a state playoff victory several years ago, a fact not lost on Bengal coach Lynn Freestone after the game."It's always great to beat the best, and Skyline's the best," Freestone said as players and fans celebrated all around him at midfield. "They've got a great program, they always come prepared, and I couldn't be prouder of this team as a whole."
Skyline drew first blood after holding the Bengals on their first offensive series. Following a 53 yard punt return by T.J. Stevenson to the Bengal 22, the Eagles scored in three plays, the final five yards gained by Nick Morgan to make it 6-0. The PAT was wide, however, and the strange kicking aspect of this game was just beginning.
Hagen began his ground assault, ala San Diego State's Faulk, on the next series. On second down from his 42, Hagen rolled right and dashed 53 yards to the Skyline 5. The Eagles held defensively, and David Haws booted a 27 yard field goal to make it 6-3.
Following a Skyline punt, Hagen did it again, taking off for a 55-yard gain on third down to the Skyline 15. Again, the Eagles stiffened defensively, and Haws' 25 yard field goal tied the game at 6-all with 10:06 left in the half.
Brighton took the lead on its next possession. On first down at the Bengal 47, Hagen broke through on the left side and went 53 yards down the sideline. The PAT was wide, and the Bengals led 12-6 at halftime.
Both teams added only second-half field goals, but not because Stevenson wasn't doing his part. He returned four kicks for a total of 155 yards on the evening, setting up the Eagles several times. Brighton stretched its lead to 15-6 when Haws kicked a 29 yard field goal, but Matt Alba answered for the Eagles with a 22 yarder in the final two minutes of the third period. Skyline drove deep once again before Brighton stopped quarterback Brandon Doman on fourth down just short of the Bengal 25. Hagen, who finished with 10 carries for 200 yards even, helped Brighton run out the clock and preserve the victory.
Highland 48, East 10
The Rams ran away from the Leopards in the annual grudge match between the two archrivals.
David Mailei ran for two touchdowns and Sione Tenifa ran for two more over the outmanned Leopards. Mailei scored on a 68-yard run in the first half, while Tenifa scored from short range on his TD runs. In the second half, quarterback Matt Cannon ran 50 yards for a score and also hit Brian Rasmussen with a 13-yard TD pass. East's highlight was Mbe Agbor's 18-yard touchdown run, which cut the Rams' lead to 21-10 early in the second half.
Olympus 17, Cottonwood 14
The Titans' relied on big plays propel them past the Colts at Cottonwood.
Mike Greene returned a kickoff 95 yards in the first quarter to pull even with the Colts at 7-7, and then went ahead in the second quarter on a 20-yard TD jaunt by Brent Neff. Late in the first half, Jeremy Green picked off a pass to set up a 32-yard field goal by Neff which proved to be the game winner.
For Cottonwood, Anthony Escobar and Brandon Mackay contributed touchdown runs of 5 and 3 yards, respectively.