Even in the rain, Skyline reigns.
The Eagles captured their second consecutive 5A championship Friday with a 13-6 victory over Orem at muddy Wildcat Stadium."Last year it felt real good to win, but something was missing," said senior quarterback Jason Anderson. "This was it."
The title is Skyline's 10th overall and third in the past four seasons. The Eagles are the first team in 19 years to repeat as champs.
"It's the best feeling in the world to win a state championship," said junior Josh Lyman who scored twice in the second half as the Eagles overcame a 6-0 deficit. "I couldn't be happier. Two touchdowns in the state championship - I couldn't even have dreamed of that."
Especially after a nightmarish first half for the Skyline offense. The Eagles had just four first downs and were intercepted once.
Orem, meanwhile, managed to cross the goal line just once - on a 1-yard run by Jared Harper with 3:32 remaining in the second quarter.
"We had (other) chances," said Orem coach Paul Clark. "It seemed like every time we had something going, we had penalties called."
Skyline intercepted the ensuing two-point conversion attempt (Orem opted to try a pass after seeing the Eagles' initial defensive alignment) to keep it 6-0 - a score that stood at halftime.
"I'm just glad we could keep it close in the first half," said Skyline coach Roger DuPaix. "The defense just hung in there."
During the intermission, Skyline gave thanks and discussed better execution.
"We were thanking the defense. They kept us in the game," said Anderson. "In the second half, we just came out and played Skyline football."
DuPaix didn't institute any major changes at halftime: "I told them `all you've got to do in the second half is execute.' "
The message got through - loud and clear.
After forcing Orem to punt after three plays, Skyline took its initial drive 63 yards on nine snaps to take the lead for good. Lyman capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run before Mark McGill kicked the extra point.
"After we scored in the third quarter there was no looking back," said Lyman. "We knew we had them."
While Skyline's defense forced Orem into a pair of losses on downs and a punt, the offense eventually put more points on the board. The Eagles took almost six minutes off the clock before Lyman scored on an 8-yard run with 2:19 left in the game. The extra point kick was blocked, but the score remained firm. The Tigers failed to produce a first down in their final series.
"You could see our kids had the momentum in the second half," said DuPaix.
Besides getting jump-started offensively, the Eagles' defense got even tougher. Orem's top rusher, Harper, was held to four yards in the second half after picking up 46 in the first two quarters. The tightening limited the Tigers to three first downs after seven in the opening half. Skyline, meanwhile, countered by more than doubling its offensive output - finishing with 290 yards - and producing the winning scores.
"There wasn't any doubt," said Anderson.