LONGMONT — When the Skyline football team was searching for an answer to an obstinate Mead Mavericks ball club on Friday night, bruising senior tailback Ilann Rodriguez provided the spark that turned the game on its ear.
Listed at 5-11, 200 pounds, Rodriguez rumbled for three touchdowns in the third quarter to pace a 42-21 Falcons victory.
Skyline moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2004.
“Things weren’t looking good at halftime and we definitely talked about how we needed to come back out harder, stronger, better,” Rodriguez said. “We went through some adversity in the first half but we looked really good in the second half. When I was getting the ball more in the third quarter, I knew it was a big responsibility but me and my teammates were ready for the challenge.”
Rodriguez carried the ball just three times for 17 yards in the first two quarters. With the Falcons trailing 14-7 at halftime, he averaged five yards on his 13 carries in the second half.
Mead scored first on Dane Myers’ 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and led 14-7 at halftime. The Falcons trailed until Rodriguez scored on an 8-yard run to put them up 19-14 with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left in the third quarter, during which the Falcons scored 28 unanswered points.
While the Falcons offense struggled for stretches against the Mavericks, the special teams units kept the team in the game.
Twice in the first half, the punt team pinned Mead on its own 1-yard line. Returner Matt Bulow returned a punt 45 yards to the Mavericks 1-yard line on Skyline’s first drive of the second half.
In the third quarter, Skyline’s special teams recovered a fumble on a kickoff return to give the offense the ball at the Mavericks’ 21-yard line. After the defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession, the special teams chased down the punter on a high snap to give the offense the ball on the Mavericks’ 20-yard line.
“That 28-0 third quarter was the best third quarter I’ve been a part of as a head coach,” Skyline head coach Kevin Rice said. “Our special teams coordinator Ron Angstead does a great job of getting our special teams unit ready to play and we stress being aggressive and having our special teams make plays in the game. I’m really proud of what those guys have been able to do as a unit.”
The Falcons were able to score 42 points despite 130 yards in penalties.
While the Mead football team repeatedly claimed before the 2014 season that it would field a team that featured no superstars, there was nothing ordinary about junior Myers’ performance on Friday.
Myers finished the game with 102 rushing yards, 140 receiving yards and score all three of the Mavericks’ touchdowns on plays of 37, 74 and 80 yards.
“It wasn’t really me,” Myers said. “My line gave me a couple of the biggest holes you could ever imagine and my catches were all a credit to my quarterback and the line protecting him. We had some good plays and we came out strong in the first half but I think we beat ourselves in the second half.”
The Mavericks play Vista Peak Prep next Friday at Mead High School. The Falcons will travel to Thompson Valley High School on Thursday.
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Skyline 42, Mead 21
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Mead 7 7 0 7 — 21
Skyline 0 7 28 7 — 42
Mead — Dane Myers 80 run (Tyler Levine kick).
Skyline — Damian Galaz 25 run (Seth Thomas kick). Mead — Myers 37 pass from Tony Feula (Levine kick).
Skyline — Ilan Rodriguez 1 run (kick no good). Skyline— Rodriguez 8 run (kick no good). Skyline — Galaz 16 run (2-point run good). Skyline — Rodriguez 1 run (2-point pass good).
Skyline — Josh Angstead 42 pass from Dominic Mansanares (Thomas kick). Mead — Myers 74 pass from Feula (Levine kick).
RUSHING — Mead: Dane Myers 14–102, Tyler Colaiano 5-32, Colin Tony Feula 9-15, Gino Musick 4-10, Colin Petersen 2-3. Skyline: Ilann Rodriguez 16-82, Damian Galaz 10-66, Seth Thomas 13-58, Dylan Kram 9-26, Justin Forsyth 1-1, Dominic Mansanares 4-(-2).
PASSING — Mead: Tony Feula 11-18-0-183. Skyline: Dominic Mansanares 6-12-1-137.
RECEIVING — Mead: Dane Myers 5-140, Jordan Miyake 2-17, Tyler Levine 1-8, Cameron Cheung 2-9, Tyler Colaiano 1-9. Skyline: Justin Forsyth 2-21, Matt Dietz 1-18, Josh Angstead 2-68, Damian Galaz 1-30.