LONGMONT — If quarterback Ben Harris came into the 2016 season with just three late-season games of starting experience, he sure didn't look like it during the Skyline football team's opener on Friday night.
The senior threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns while the defense shut out visiting Golden and the Falcons kicked of the season with a 41-0 victory.
For the Falcons, who have won just two games in each of the past three seasons, hitting the ground running with such a dominating win was exactly what they were hoping for.
"It was a great team win," Harris said. "Me, I just put my trust in my playmakers and got it to them so they could make plays. We all relied on each other and played as a team. We have a lot of heart and we put it on each other to make plays and tonight it all clicked."
Harris settled in right away at Everly-Montgomery Field.
Connecting with wide receiver Jack Wathen on an 82-yard catch and run, Harris gave the Falcons a lead on the first play of the game. He kept the ball on an option play for a 33-yard running score on the Falcons' second drive of the game. Harris' third touchdown pass of the game, a 14-yard strike to Nate Higgins gave the Falcons a 41-0 lead and started the running clock with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining in the first half.
"When Ben goes like that and he's spreading it out, that's when we're really good," second-year head coach Mike Silva said. "I think we kind of put on display what we're capable of."
Against Golden, a team that went 3-7 last season, the Falcons defense racked up four sacks, forced three turnovers and held the Demons to 49 yards of total offense.
"We just came out firing on all cylinders, which is fantastic because we want to play with that kind of energy," senior cornerback Caleb Zietlow said. "Just having the coaches in their second year and having a lot of senior talent has helped us come together and it showed tonight. Our linebackers and defensive linemen did a great job of playing their assignments and reading their guards. It was a great game for them."
The Falcons will host Coronado (1-0) at 1 p.m. next Saturday. Coronado won the Class 3A state championship in 2013 but has post a 8-13 record in the two seasons since, including a 1-9 campaign last fall.
"I'm excited for the boys," Silva said. "They performed well tonight. But it's only one game and we need to continue to get better and make sure that we are consistent. Now, we're thinking about Coronado."
Skyline 41, Golden 0
At Everly-Montgomery FieldGolden (0-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Skyline (1-0) 20 21 0 0 — 41
Skyline — Jack Wathen 82 pass from Ben Harris (Nate McGregor kick). Skyline — Harris 33 run (McGregor kick). Skyline — Moses Rivera 7 run (fumbled snap).
Skyline — Nate Higgins 44 run (McGregor kick). Skyline — Hunter Gutierrez 29 pass from Harris (McGregor kick). Skyline — Higgins 14 pass from Harris (McGregor kick).
RUSHING — Golden: Cristofer McCart 9-33, Ted Hoal 4-6, Scott Holman 1-6, Harrison Chamberlain 4-(-7), Chase Langworthy 2-(-2), Zak Larson 4-(-2). Skyline: Nate Higgins 6-72, Ben Harris 11-58, Kyle West 2-31, Moses Rivera 2-27, Nate McGregor 5-16, Ben Hall 1-9, Jack Wathen 1-7, Caleb Zietlow 2-(-7)
PASSING — Golden: Harrison Chamberlain 1-6-0-15, Zak Larson 0-7-1-0. Skyline: Ben Harris 9-15-0-178, Nate McGregor 1-4-0-23.
RECEIVING — Golden: Joe Madsen 1-15. Skyline: Jack Wathen 1-82, Hunter Gutierrez 2-37, Ben Hall 2-18, Kyle West 2-14, Nate Higgins 1-14, Jesus Rodriguez 1-23, Caleb Zietlow 2-8.