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High school football: Quick-strike Skyline holds off pesky Granger

Tommy McGrath
Tommy McGrath

Early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s season opener between Granger at Skyline, the Lancers, who at one point trailed 28-6, scored three unanswered touchdowns and crept to within 28-25 with 11 minutes remaining.

Having seen the ball a total of three offensive plays in the second half, three-and-out, Skyline needed a big play and the Eagles got it.

Senior quarterback, Tommy McGrath threw a perfect ball to Taylor Larsen, who caught the ball in stride, gave the Granger defender a light stiff-arm, and stormed into the end zone as Skyline went on to win its season opener with a 38-25 win over Granger.

“Coach called the fade and I just knew that I could beat that guy one-on-one and this guy, Tommy McGrath, put it on the money and just was a run to the end zone,” Larsen said.

It was Skyline who rang the scoring bell first with a 5-yard run from Saione Matagi to open up the scoring. Granger answered with a 4-yard run from Mosese Sonasi. After the PAT was blocked, Skyline led it 7-6.

From there it was The Tommy McGrath Show as the senior carved up the Lancer defense with three scoring drives, all of them five plays or less that resulted in touchdowns of 2, 21 and 26 yards to Larsen, Yioti Karahalios and Binford Briggs, respectively.

“I think we had a couple of mistakes early and in the first quarter we were just reading what they were giving us,” McGrath said. “In the second quarter, coach Erekson realized what we could beat them on and we took advantage of it.”

Pleased with the outcome of the game, Erekson said his team came out flat in the third quarter after the Lancers scored on a wheel route when Mikey Gatti found Tavai Ammon for a 25-yard score that cut the lead to 28-12 just before the half.

After Granger closed the gap to 28-25 at the start of the fourth quarter, Erekson said he gave the guys a stern talking to.

“I thought we played really well for three quarters,” Erekson said. “I thought that third quarter we came out kind of flat, our effort was not good and I think we got complacent”

But it wasn’t just the offense that was clicking on opening night. Linebacker Jackson Waite picked off an errant Granger pass with just over two minutes remaining in the half. One play later, McGrath hit Binford Briggs to extend the lead.

“Our emotional leaders play on defense and Kendrick Williams was all over the place,” Erekson said. “We read our keys pretty well and, for the most part, I thought we executed, made our plays and did our job.”

While the Eagles scored points in 2016 one of the areas they lacked production was in the outside zone running game.

Erekson said despite the aerial onslaught he saw marked improvement in the outside run game.

“We did a really good job in our outside zone running,” Erekson said. “We weren’t very good in that last year but we were able to get to the outside and that’s a good sign for our football team.”

After a bye week, 1-0 Skyline will be back in action when they face Juan Diego in two weeks. Granger, 0-1 hosts Olympus next Friday.