GREELEY — The Skyline football team’s season ended in a 33-23 loss to Northridge on Thursday night. But by that time, the season had already been a tremendous success for the program.
Having won five games, the program’s highest mark in a decade, the current Falcons left Northridge High School knowing they’d accomplished more than any Skyline team in recent memory.
“It was everything to me. Football’s been my life and I couldn’t ask for anything more than turning Skyline around,” Falcons senior Zach Gonzales said. “This community deserves it.”
Gonzales threw for 121 yards in the second half despite playing with a cast on his broken left hand. He filled in for starting quarterback Garret Angstead, who left the field on a stretcher with a lower leg injury just before halftime.
Angtead had 154 yards (110 passing, 44 rushing) of total offense and an interception in the first half.
“I was just trying to go through the motions and trying to get things done for everybody out there,” Gonzales said. “I wasn’t thinking about the stats or anything like that, just trying to play my heart out.”
Falcons senior Alex McHone scored the game’s first touchdown on a 71-yard pass from Angstead in the first quarter. In the second quarter, a 41-yard field goal from junior Luciano Quesada sent the Falcons into halftime trailing 14-10.
But in the second half, the Falcons were forced to attempt a comeback without their biggest offensive weapon.
“We scored more points in the second half than we did in the first so we weren’t totally dependent on him,” McHone said. “We’re a good team and he’s a big part of it. We fought hard without him but we couldn’t quite get there.”
Tailback Israel Valdez ran for a 6-yard touchdown and senior tailback Eric Caballero scored on a 22-yard dash to keep the Falcons in the hunt.
They were hoping to get to six wins and a playoff game, and head coach Kevin Rice said they expected to win Thursday. But the Falcons, who were 8-52 in the six seasons prior to this one, took a giant leap forward in 2012.
“These seniors have done a great job of sticking with it a persevering through some tough times and losing seasons,” Rice said. “They got a 5-5 record and that’s a big step for us. These seniors have built a real foundation that these guys are going to carry forward. We’re going to have a lot of guys back and we expect to be really good next year.”
Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi
NORTHRIDGE 33, SKYLINE 23
At Northridge H.S.
Skyline (5-5, 3-2) 7 3 0 13 — 23
Northridge (8-2, 3-2) 14 0 12 7 — 33
Skyline — Alex McHone 71 pass from Garret Angstead (Luciano Quesada kick).
Northridge — Michael Graff 22 pass from Robert Fulton (Seth Czapenski kick).
Northridge — Cody Cook 9 run (Czapenski kick).
Skyline — Quesada 41 field goal.
Northridge — Snap out of end zone safety.
Northridge — Czapenski 26 field goal.
Northridge — Brad Marx 22 pass from Fulton (Czapenski kick).
Skyline — Israel Valdez 6 run (2-point run short).
Northridge — Blake Karlin 11 pass from Fulton (Czapenski kick).
Skyline — Eric Caballero 22 run (Quesada kick).
First downs 17 15
Rushes-yards 25-143 38-155
Passing yards 231 201
Comp-Att-Int 14-25-1 14-26-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 9-93 5-75
RUSHING — Skyline: Garret Angstead 14-44, Eric Caballero 4-38, Israel Valdez 8-30, Alex McHone 1-1, Jordan McEntee 5-30, Javier Gonzalez 1-(-4); Northridge: Cody Cook 24-82, Robert Fulton 11-64, Dillon Dreher 2-5, Kyle Greenwell 1-4.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Skyline: Angstead 5-10-1-110, Zach Gonzales 8-17-0-121, Eric Caballero 1-2-0-0, Russell Lombard 0-1-0-0; Northridge: Robert Fulton 14-16-0-201.
RECEIVING — Skyline: McHone 1-71, Valdez 4-26, Luciano Quesada 4-50, Caballero 3-61, Gonzalez 2-23; Northridge: Michael Graff 5-87, Cook 3-9, Brad Marx 3-66, Blake Karlin 3-39.