A week after falling to one neighborhood rival, the Skyline Eagles bounced back to beat another — barely.
Behind two touchdown runs from Matt Bauman, and one from quarterback Mitch Reid, the Eagles knocked off the Highland Rams 21-14 Friday night.
It could've been a lot easier had Skyline learned its lesson in last week's loss to Olympus. Turnovers really contributed Skyline's setback at Oly, and it nearly cost them again Friday. On the Eagles' opening drive, they marched 69 yards to the one yard line, where Jacob Rodgers promptly coughed it up.
"That first fumble really hurt us because we were going into score," said Skyline coach Roger DuPaix. "That is what happened to us last week."
Highland took advantage of the gift by marching all the way down the field on an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a Tevita Inukihaangana 21-yard TD run.
Skyline leveled the score at 7-7 a few minutes later as Bauman marched 58 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown.
On the Eagles' next possession though, the turnover bug nipped them again. While trying to gain extra yards on his 41-yard reception late in the first half, Bauman had the ball stripped by a Highland defender, which was recovered by Matt Fishler.
With the score knotted at 7-7 at halftime, DuPaix merely told his team to relax in the second half — and hang onto the ball.
Ironically, it was the Rams who were plagued by turnovers in the second half.
After Highland's Randy Price returned the opening kickoff 55-yards to begin the half, the Rams fumbled its first play from scrimmage to give Skyline excellent field position.
"That was the biggest play of the game right there," said DuPaix about the fumble.
The Eagles made them pay two plays later as Reid scampered 43 yards to put Skyline ahead 14-7. The lead ballooned to 21-7 on Skyline's next possession as Bauman bulled his way up the middle for a six-yard touchdown run.
Highland made it interesting as Randy Price returned that ensuing kickoff 71 yards, which set up Macus Mailei's three-yard TD run a few plays later. That was all the Eagles' defense would surrender as they kept Highland from crossing midfield the rest of the game.
"As the game went along they got better defensively, but we got a lot better defensively," said DuPaix.
Skyline only allowed Highland to rack up 179 yards of total offense, 80 of which came on the Rams' opening drive.