LYONS —The Skyline Falcons seemed to have the Longs Peak League title secured over the Loveland Indians, the same team that beat them in the state championship game last year until the fourth quarter.
Up 20-8 going into the fourth, the Indians scored an early touchdown and got the ball back shortly after with two minutes remaining and a chance to drive down the field for a devastating comeback win.
Instead, the Skyline defense prevailed with Andrew Silance diving for an interception with 25 seconds remaining to secure a 20-15 win and league title for the Falcons.
More than that, though, the Falcons earned redemption against the same team that gave them a tough ending in the state championship game a season ago.
“This just felt so good,” Skyline’s Hayden Robison said. “(Loveland) blew us out twice last year. We had to come back and get them. We felt like Loveland thought they would come in and blow us out again. We’re a different team. We wanted redemption.”
Zack Rakowsky used his legs to start the final drive for Loveland, and a second unsportsmanlike penalty on Omar Morales that led to his ejection helped keep the drive alive. Loveland would go from its 10-yard line and reach Skyline territory before the costly interception by Silance.
“I was running because I saw the tight end leak out,” Silance said. “It was just in the moment. I saw the ball go up, I spun my head around and I dove. Next thing I knew, the ball was in my hands and I was on the ground, and we had won the game.”
Silance’s interception was the third turnover forced by the Skyline defense, a key for them to get the win Friday night.
Skyline forced a Rakowsky fumble on Loveland’s first offensive play of the game after a missed field goal attempt. The recovery from Nick Peterson resulted in a score four plays later when quarterback Chase Silva found Robison on a go route for a 16-yard touchdown.
The next drive for Loveland saw another Rakowsky fumble recovered. Skyline forced a pair of three-and-outs and only allowed one two sustained drives after that.
“It was really just about flying to the ball,” Will Drewes said. “We were reading their guards and flying to the football. They like to run it to the outside and then fake it. Every single guy (on defense) has a job to do, and we did our jobs tonight.”
Loveland finished with 216 rushing yards and Rakowsky completed four of his 16 pass attempts for 65 yards against the Falcons defense.
While Skyline’s defense was keeping the Loveland offense in check, it found balance through the air and on the ground to build up an early lead. Silva and Robison connected for another touchdown pass on the first offensive drive of the second half to extend the halftime lead.
“I saw my guy pressing on the inside, and (Silva) knew I could beat him to the outside,” Robison said. “He just threw it to my back shoulder and I was able to catch it.”
Gabe Sosa put up the remaining six points for Skyline with a pair of field goals.
The win secures a postseason bid for the Falcons as league champs, and with a new-look team that includes some key holdovers from their run to the state title, the Falcons are optimistic on making another[b1] postseason run this year.
“I believe we can do it,” Drewes said. “As long as we keep putting forth the effort and every guy does their job, I think we can go back to the state championship game.”