LONGMONT — The fact that each team opened a half of football by recovering a cheeky onside kick should tell you all you need to know about how badly both Skyline and Mead wanted bragging rights in the local rivalry series on Friday night.
"That says high school rivalries are awesome, that's what it says," Skyline head coach Michael Silva said. "We threw everything we had at each other. It was fun. It was a blast. It was a great atmosphere and that's why those games are so big on your schedule."
When the game began, the all-time series between the two teams was tied 2-2, the Falcons were ranked No. 10 in Class 4A and the Mavericks were ranked No. 5 in 3A. After a back-and-forth first half in which neither team led by more than a touchdown and a halftime stalemate, it was the Falcons that finally took control in the second half and went on to win, 41-21.
Offense was rampant early on as each team scored on its first two drives of the game. The Falcons (2-0) and Mavericks (1-1) found themselves tied 21-21 at the midway break. Skyline running back Jeremy Hollingsworth finished with a game-high 242 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Mead's talented duo of sophomore speedsters Nathan Bailey and Brayden Keys combined for 163 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
It wasn't until the Skyline defense held the Mavericks scoreless in the second half, forcing turnovers on downs to halt their final three chances to keep the game close, that the contest turned in the Falcons' favor.
"You know it's a rivalry so there's some personal stuff and there's been years of talking," Hollingsworth said. "It was finally time to put the talking away, put it out on the field and see what's going on. It was a battle in the first half but our defense really stepped up in the second half and gave that extra 10 percent that put it away at the end of the game."
Skyler Baltierras and Creighton Trembly each had a team-high eight tackles for the Skyline defense.
The cross-classification game was made closer by the fact that both teams entered with plenty of confidence, the power of which Silva noted on both sidelines during the game. Skyline reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 1999 and Mead has reached the 3A postseason in each of the past three seasons, including a semifinals appearance in 2016 and a quarterfinals run last fall.
Both teams also are breaking in new quarterbacks in the early weeks of the season, but for different reasons.
In his first career start filling in for injured senior Nate McGregor, Skyline sophomore Chase Silva completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 188 yards and pair of touchdowns. Mead junior quarterback Brady Veltien got off to a good start but the Skyline defense held him to two completions for six yards in the second half.
"That was a good game," Mead head coach Jason Klatt said. "They're well-coached, they have some good players and they're a handful. They're really hard to deal with. But we find strength in our struggle and we'll regroup."
The Falcons are still waiting on an MRI to find out how badly McGregor, who left their Week 1 game against Westminster in the second quarter with a foot or ankle injury, is hurt. Since the Falcons have a bye in Week 3, the best-case scenario is that McGregor returns for the Falcons' next game at Brighton on Sept. 14. If the MRI reveals a hairline fracture or a similarly serious injury, he could be out longer.
The Mavericks will travel to face Evergreen at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Skyline 41, Mead 21
At Everly-Montgomery FieldMead (1-1) 71400—21Skyline (2-0) 714137—41
Skyline — Jeremy Hollingsworth 5 run (Ben Kalisher kick). Mead — Nick Jacobs 12 pass from Brady Veltien (Taylor Kamigaki kick).
Skyline — Chase Silva 1 run (Kalisher kick). Mead — Brayden Keys 80 run (Kamigaki kick). Skyline — Hollingsworth 46 run (Kalisher kick). Mead — Nathan Bailey 1 run (Kamigaki kick).
Skyline — Austin Robison 18 pass from Silva (Kalisher kick). Skyline — Hollingsworth 66 run (kick missed).
Skyline — Jack Wathen 50 pass from Silva (Kalisher kick).
RUSHING — Mead: Nathan Bailey 11-82, Brayden Keys 3-81, Ryan Bullock 17-43, Brady Veltien 7-21, Caleb Domenico 1-13. Skyline: Jeremy Hollingsworth 24-242, Kyle West 3-20, Chase Silva 6-10, Jack Wathen 1-2.
PASSING — Mead: Brady Veltien 9-21-0-90; Skyline: Chase Silva 12-18-0-188.
RECEIVING — Mead: Trey Ward 2-24, Nathan Bailey 3-20, KJ Jacobs 1-28, Nick Jacobs 3-18. Skyline: Kyle West 6-81, Jack Wathen 4-70, Austin Robison 2-37.