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Football: Skyline pitches shutout in rivalry opener against Niwot

Skyline's Damian Galaz blasts through the Niwot defense during the Falcons' 24-0 season-opening victory
Matthew Jonas / Longmont Times-Call
Skyline’s Damian Galaz blasts through the Niwot defense during the Falcons’ 24-0 season-opening victory

LONGMONT — For the third consecutive season, the Skyline and Niwot football teams opened the season against one another on Friday night.

Even with both squads moving in opposite directions on the Colorado prep classification ladder in 2014, the most recent season opener between the Falcons and Cougars kept its rivalry kickoff feel at Everly-Montgomery Field.

In the Falcons’ first game at Class 4A, and the Cougars’ first at Class 3A, it was the visiting Falcons defense that controlled the game for a 24-0 win. In fact, after the game Skyline head coach Kevin Rice told the Falcons it was the hardest-hitting first game he has coached at Skyline.

“We’re not the biggest team but our team is committed to playing physical football,” Rice said. “We have to keep getting better but it’s a big positive for us to come out and play the way we did on defense. Defensive coordinator Sam Mulay did a great job of getting the guys ready for our season opener.”

The Falcons (1-0) defense held the Cougars (0-1) to 61 yards of total offense in the shutout.

Falcons senior defensive end Zach Tovar was particularly disruptive on special teams, blocking a punt and recovering a fumble on a bad snap. On defense, Tovar accounted for two of the Falcons’ seven sacks.

When the Falcons had the ball, senior tailback Damian Galaz made the most of their numerous short-field opportunities.

“Ever since I started playing football in the seventh grade, I’ve wanted to play running back,” Galaz said. “I was excited and nervous for tonight since this was the first game. But our team’s conditioning was great and we played our game. Our line was aggressive and played physical. We needed our defense to step up and give us some good chances and we just made a few good plays.”

Galaz, who played mostly defense last season, carried the ball 15 times for 76 yards and scored on runs of nine, 15 and 19 yards.

Both teams won two games last year. In last year’s season-opening clash, the Cougars outscored the Falcons 17-3 in the second half to win 23-16. With a 17-0 halftime lead on Friday night, the Falcons were determined not to let that happen again, holding fast on a 16-play Cougars drive in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout and claim the season’s first win.

Cougars first-year quarterback Justin Lee completed eight of 21 passes for 67 yards. Tailback Sonny May led the Cougars in rushing with 20 yards on 10 attempts.

The Falcons will play Mead next Friday at Everly-Montgomery Field. The Cougars will travel to face Fort Morgan.

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Skyline 24, Niwot 0

At Everly-Montgomery Field

Skyline   7  10  7  0  — 24

Niwot     0  0  0  0  — 0

First quarter

Skyline — Damian Galaz 15 run (Seth Thomas kick).

Second quarter

Skyline — Galaz 9 run (Thomas kick). Skyline — Thomas 34 field goal.

Third quarter

Skyline — Galaz 19 run (Thomas kick).


RUSHING — Skyline: Damian Galaz 15-76, Dominic Mansanares 4-17, Seth Thomas 9-16, Benny Jacobs 1-1, Chad Davidson 1-(-2), Josh Angstead 1-2, Nate Higgins 2-4. Niwot: Sonny May 10-20, Justin Lee 12-(-27), Junior Herrera 1-4, Matt Bromwell 1-1, Mike Leslie 3-(-2), Zack Kinnison 1-(-2),

PASSING — Skyline: Dominic Mansanares 6-10-0-66. Niwot: Justin Lee 6-21-0-67.

RECEIVING — Skyline: Justin Forsyth 3-42, Damian Galaz 1-6, Chad Davidson 1-5, Matt Dietz 1-13. Niwot: Charlie Mitelhaus 2-32, Arlin Bloch 1-6, Aidan Tollefson 3-14, Alex Oelsner 1-8, Christian Cloar 1-7.

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