MEAD — It was a battle between the No. 3 ranked team in Class 3A and the No. 7 ranked team in Class 4A Friday night at Mead High School.
It ended with a huge statement made by Mead on its home field.
The 3A Mavericks ran their offense with tempo and precision to open up some big runs and to control the action up front. On defense, they shut down 4A Skyline for the majority of the night. The combination resulted in a 42-14 win for Mead to improve to 2-0 on the season.
A fired up Jason Klatt was proud to see his team “break the will” of Skyline for most of the game to get the win.
“That’s what happens with a bunch of guys that are determined as all get-out and committed to do the right thing,” Klatt said. “They roll their sleeves up and do things the right way. There’s character guys in there. (How we played tonight) is Mead football.”
Mead started fast with a three-and-out forced on defense and then broke free with a 50-yard touchdown run by Jake Wachter in the first quarter. A long drive that carried over into the second quarter ended with quarterback Brady Veltien punching it over the goal line with a run.
As the offense got its run game going, Skyline tried to answer with Michael McKrola and their ground attack. The senior running back carried the ball 20 times in the first half, breaking the trend of the near 50/50 split of run and pass plays used in their Week 1 win at Westminster.
“(Mead) had a lot of defensive backs in there, so we should have been able to run up the middle,” Skyline coach Mike Silva said.
But it wasn’t consistent enough.
McKrola finished with 107 yards on 23 carries but picked up a big chunk of yards late with the game out of reach. In addition to not letting him break free, Mead held quarterback Chase Silva in check through the first three quarters. The two touchdowns Skyline scored came in the fourth quarter in cleanup time.
“It was all about the team,” Mead’s Prestin Tillema said. “You can’t win with just one guy. Our linebackers flying up and our safeties being able to cover (man-to-man), no team can score on us.”
Meanwhile, Mead would finish with 362 rushing yards, 21 passing yards and six touchdowns, including scoring runs of 76, 57 and 50 yards.
“We kept punching the ball,” Tillema said. “Our running backs and wide receivers were running up the gut. They couldn’t stop us with our counters and everything.”
For Mead, the win proves it belongs in the threshold of the best teams in the state, and despite Klatt feeling there was a lack of respect shown by the media and others in the early part of the season to his team, he says they will continue to work and build off their statement win Friday.
“We’re going to go back to work tomorrow and do what we have always done,” Klatt said. “We always come to play.”
As for Skyline, the loss serves as an important lesson to become a more consistent football team, according to Silva.
“This is the kick in the pants that hopefully we say that we’ve been exposed and need to make those adjustments,” Silva said. “That’s our battle moving forward. We have to get better in areas that we were exposed in.”