LAFAYETTE — After playing without their leader for the previous game and a half, Skyline football players were simply ecstatic to see Garret Angstead back under center.
Aiming not to re-aggravate his thigh contusion, the Falcons eased Angstead back into action Friday night with a fairly vanilla game plan, but his presence alone was huge.
Visiting Skyline rode the energy to a 34-9 Class 3A nonleague victory at Warrior Stadium, keeping Centaurus winless through the first five weeks of the season.
“It makes a big difference,” running back Seth Thomas said. “He’s our backbone.”
Angstead went 10 for 14 for 168 yards and two touchdowns and was solid and in command throughout for the Falcons (2-3).
He ran for a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive moments after the Falcons forced Centaurus to fumble on the second play of the contest, which Derek Searls recovered at the Warriors 18-yard line.
Angstead also threw TD strikes to Javier Gonzalez and Luciano Quesada as Skyline never trailed.
“It was a great feeling being back out there,” Angstead said. “We’re like a family and it really started clicking. We played like the team we know how to be.”
Angstead first endured the injury near halftime against Erie two weeks ago. The Falcons led 17-6 at the half but ended up falling 34-17. He also was not available for last week’s 27-13 loss to Fort Morgan.
“There’s still some pain, but it’s not something I’m not going to eventually overcome,” he said. “It played out for the best.”
Although the teams entered with a combined one win, the contest had a positive zest to it on a crisp fall night. Many onlookers might have witnessed a first when the teams traded kickoff-return touchdowns on successive plays in the first half.
First Skyline’s Alex McHone went 85 yards for a Falcons TD, then Centaurus’ Matthew Buchler returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a Warriors TD.
Running back Israel Valdez also factored prominently for the Falcons, rushing for 86 yards and a third-quarter touchdown.
Centaurus again played without many key linemen, including injured senior stalwarts Brad Lowry and Jesse Gritz. The Warriors (0-5), who opened against four foes that were either currently ranked or were at some time, can’t seem to buy a break.
One play after Buchler jumped a route and just missed a surefire pick-six on the first play of the fourth quarter, Angstead found Quesada wide open for a 69-yard TD that served as the dagger.
“It feels like we’re a good team and we’re up there, but we just can’t get it together,” Buchler said. “I don’t know what’s up. It’s not coming together, and we’re just missing that special thing. I think it’s that passion that we’re missing.”
Skyline won the turnover battle 5-0, forcing three fumbles (two recovered by Searls) while Alex McHone twice picked off Centaurus quarterback David Shald.
“We’ve had those types of mistakes on our side, so it’s huge when we can make big plays like that,” Thomas said.
Shald finished 18 for 29 for 139 yards.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
SKYLINE 34, CENTAURUS 9
At Centaurus H.S.
Skyline (2-3) 7 14 6 7 — 34
Centaurus (0-0, 0-0) 0 9 0 0 — 9
Skyline — Garret Angstead 1 run (Seth Thomas kick).
Centaurus — Brody Jaskul 25 FG.
Skyline — Alex McHone 85 kickoff return (Thomas kick).
Centaurus — Matthew Buchler 97 kickoff return (kick failed).
Skyline — Javier Gonzalez 11 pass from Angstead (Thomas kick).
Skyline — Israel Valdez 27 run (kick failed).
Skyine — Luciano Quesada 69 pass from Angstead (Thomas kick).
First downs 13 14
Rushes-yards 36-122 27-71
Passing yards 191 139
Comp-Att-Int 11-15-0 18-29-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-3
Penalties-Yards 9-90 1-10
RUSHING — Skyline:Valdez 12-86, G. Angstead 6-6, McEntee 5-5, McHone 3-15, Thomas 5-1, Caballero 2-2, Hamby 1-5, Quesada 1-1, J. Angstead 2-(-2); Centaurus: Buchler 11-60, Scott 6-22, Crawford 2-7, Montoya 2-7, Martinelli 2-(-5), Shald 4-(-20).
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Skyline: G. Angstead 10-14-0,168 yards, Z. Gonzales 1-1-0, 23 yards; Centaurus: Shald 18-29-2, 139 yards..
RECEIVING — Skyline:J. Gonzalez 5-70, Valdez 3-30, Quesada 1-69, McHone 1-18, Thomas 1-4; Centaurus: Martinelli 7-62, Scott 6-26, Jaskul 2-24, Sapena 2-23, Rowsam 1-4.