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High school football: Skyline slugs out tough 10-6 win over Park City

Skyline players celebrate their victory after a high school football game against Park City on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City. Skyline won 10-6.
Skyline players celebrate their victory after a high school football game against Park City on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City. Skyline won 10-6.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Box score

Austin Okerwa gathered in the screen pass along the Skyline sideline, slipped past a pair of Park City defenders and took off for the open field.

Okerwa rumbled 60 yards for Skyline’s lone touchdown of the night to complement a suffocating three-interception defensive effort by the Eagles in a 10-6 win over visiting Park City on Friday.

“I saw two guys coming after me, I knew I had to make a cut, I made a cut and he fell. It was just daylight from there, you know,” Okerwa said. “I had my line blocking in front of me. It was just awesome.”

The first half was deluged with heavy rainfall, limiting both teams’ passing offenses to a total of five completions and two interceptions.

Skyline practiced rainy day situations and ran plays with wet hands in preparation for Park City after struggling in the second week of the season in a precipitation-filled loss against Springville.

“I think it paid off,” Okerwa said.

Skyline earned a short field after a muffed Park City punt and opened the scoring with a 32-yard Ryan Wiscomb field goal to make it 3-0 with 9:01 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles then sniffed out a Park City play action pass for an AJ Jones interception on the Miners’ ensuing possession.

After a quick punt, Park City went on a 15-play odyssey but was stifled once again on a failed fourth-and-1 attempt in the red zone when Carson Tabaracci was stopped short of the line to gain.

“Our guys played their hearts out. I was really proud of them,” Skyline coach John Rowbotham said. “They’ve got an amazing running back and a great offensive line. I’m proud of our boys.”

Park City got another chance after a Chandler Kelsch brought down a tipped interception, but the Miners missed a 42-yard field goal wide right to end the first half.

The rain settled down as the second half opened, but Skyline’s defense remained a no-fly zone for Park City quarterback Chase Beyer thanks to cornerback Garrett Adams.

“Garrett is a kid who never stops,” Rowbotham said. “He’s a great leader and I was very impressed with his effort tonight.”

Adams nabbed an errant, under-pressure Beyer pass midway through third quarter. One possession later, Adams squashed Park City’s best opportunity to score to that point, snatching a ricocheted Beyer pass to turn a sure touchdown into a Skyline touchback.

“We bend but we don’t break. Our coaches tell us that all the time,” Adams said. “When they get within the red zone, that’s when we step up and really put it on them.”

Skyline’s offense sputtered until Park City pieced together another 13-play drive that flamed out inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line with a blocked field goal.

Skyline needed only one play the following drive for Okerwa’s long score to extend its lead to 10-0 with 3:10 left in the game.

The Miners went to work one final time with urgency, capping an 11-play drive with another instance of hard running from Tabaracci and a 1-yard score to break the shutout, 10-6, after a missed extra point.

Skyline stamped out a last gasp onside kick attempt and after a wet slugfest of a game, persevered for a hard-won victory.

“The boys do a great job of building each other up. They’re really positive and we stay unified,” Rowbotham said. “That’s really it. We just stay together.”