POSTGAME THOUGHTS: Skyline knew it could win this game. I’m not sure even the Spartans know they could have won it like this. The score was 39-20 Skyline, and it was every bit the dominating effort the scoreboard showed.
Lakes just never got in it, aside from early in the third quarter, when it was driving with an opportunity to take the lead. But Skyline made a stop on fourth-and-2, and that was the difference: Skyline stopped the Lakes offense, but Lakes never made the stop when it needed it. Skyline never felt like Lakes could stop it.
“Sure didn’t seem that way, did it,” said Gino Simone, who had 178 yards receiving.
Three key plays:
1) Score 18-14, Lakes has 1st-and-10 at its 42. And the Lancers go for the double pass (which Skyline executed well in the first half). But Eric Biege tips the pass at the line, and Riley Gervais intercepts it.
2) On Skyline’s next drive, on first-and-21 at the Lakes 28, Jake Heaps throws a perfect fade to Phil Tushar right by the sideline. 28-yard touchdown, and Skyline goes ahead 25-14.
3) Then, after a Lakes punt, Skyline has third-and-25 at its own 14. Heaps throws to Cameron Lusuegro, who goes shakes off a tackled and goes 86 yards down the sideline for the touchdown that iced it.
Amazing day for the offensive and defensive lines for Skyline. The defensive line had six sacks, and Heaps was never sacked. Not once.
After today, there’s no doubt: Skyline is the Class 3A favorite.
FINAL: Skyline advances to the quarterfinals with a 39-20 win over Lakes. Notes and other observations to come soon.
7:36 LEFT 4TH Q: Skyline extends the lead on an 8-yard touchdown run by Tyler Washburn. Kick good. It’s 39-20, Skyline.
10:03 LEFT 4TH Q: Lakes responds with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Calvin Schmidtke to Kavario Middleton. Pass failed. It’s 32-20, Skyline.
3:06 LEFT 3RD Q: Skyline scores again, this time a 86-yard touchdown pass from Jake Heaps to Cameron Lusuegro. Kick was good. It’s 32-14, Skyline.
4:27 LEFT 3RD Q: Skyline opens the scoring in the second half with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jake Heaps to Phil Tushar. Kick was good. It’s 25-14, Skyline.
HALFTIME: SKYLINE 18, LAKES 14. What a final four minutes! First, Skyline scores on a play it worked on all week: a wide receiver pass from Phil Tushar to Gino Simone. Lakes DB Jermaine Kearse, one of the state’s best, bit on the screen pass to Tushar, and Simone was all alone for the touchdown.
But then Kearse came back and redeemed himself. He beat two Skyline defenders on that 61-yard touchdown reception that cut the lead to 18-14.
Believe it or not, this game’s living up to everything it was supposed to be.
Skyline has moved the ball on Lakes and even forced a punt (the only one in the game so far). But three failed conversions (first a missed kick, then two missed passes) mean that Lakes can take its first lead if it comes out and scores on its first possession. That would be awfully tough for Skyline if this game comes down to those three conversions.
Both teams have thrown an interception and lost a fumble. Skyline’s turned two Lakes turnovers into 14 points, Lakes has turned two Skyline turnovers into seven.
STATS: Skyline has 56 yards rushing, 197 yards passing. Lakes has minus-28 yards rushing (Calvin Schmidtke’s been sacked six times) and 163 passing yards.
2:03 LEFT 2ND Q: Wow! Lakes tightens things up considerably thanks to a 61-yard touchdown pass from Calvin Schmidtke to Jermaine Kearse. It’s 18-14, Skyline.
3:14 LEFT 2ND Q: Skyline scores, this time on a 52-yard pass from receiver Phil Tushar to Gino Simone. Conversion pass failed. It’s now 18-7, Skyline.
1:14 LEFT 1ST Q: Lakes gets on the board with 1-yard touchdown run by Calvin Schmidtke. It’s now 12-7, Skyline.
7:28 LEFT 1ST Q: Skyline takes a 12-0 lead on a one-yard run by Jake Heaps. Conversion pass failed. Skyline benefited from a Lakes fumble on the kickoff return.
UNDER WAY: Skyline strikes first, taking a 6-0 lead on a touchdown pass to Tyler Washburn with 9:33 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick failed.
So the skies have cleared up with 40 minutes to kickoff, but there are enough clouds to make a totally clear day not a certainty. But even if it rains, I don’t think it changes this game too much. Both teams like to pass, so it’s not as if one would have an advantage. They both can run, too.
You might have seen that I picked Lakes in this one, 28-27, on Thursday. I haven’t been wrong all year in my weekly pick, but I haven’t been this nervous about being wrong before. But there’s a reason we have Lakes ranked above Skyline, and I’m not going to back away from it now.
What we have here are two of the state’s best offenses. But I have to give Lakes the edge on offense, just on the amount of yards they’ve gained 423 per game. Should be interesting to see how it goes against Skyline’s defense, which has allowed more than seven points only once all season.
I’m excited to see how this one plays out. I’ll keep you updated with scores throughout, and be back with halftime and postgame notes.