The turnover battle became too much for Skyline High (1-1) to overcome Friday night as its football team fell 31-17 to Bellevue High (2-0), which is ranked 15th in the nation by USA Today. The game, played in front of a packed crowd at , pitted the top-ranked teams in the 4A and 3A polls, respectively.
"I was very proud of our effort," Spartan head coach Mat Taylor said. "Our kids fought, they never gave up."
Skyline struck first as Damian Greene's 1-yard touchdown run put the Spartans ahead 7-0 with 7:51 left in the first quarter. The play of the drive was Max Browne's 43-yard completion to Taggart Kreuger that got the ball to the Wolverine's 25-yard line.
would run off the next 17 points, taking advantage of Skyline turnovers to stretch its lead to 17-7 at the 6:31 mark. That was when Joey Moore broke through several tackles to score on a 16-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans would not back down as they went to a no-huddle offense and got back in the game quickly as Browne hit Nic Slbendorio from 14 yards out to tie the contest at 17 with 18.8 seconds left. That gave Skyline some added momentum going into the second half.
But the battle-tested Wolverines would have something to say about that in the second half. On the opening possession, Tyler Hasty connected on a beautifully-thrown strike to Bishard Baker for 59 yards. Then a few plays later, Hasty finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Bellevue back out in front in 24-17.
Wolverine linebacker Sean Constantine's 45-yard interception return late in the third quarter sealed the victory as it put Bellevue up 31-17. The Spartans would not be able to recover.
Taylor talked about the turnover battle and credited the Wolverine defense for their role in creating them against his high-octane offense.
"Give Bellevue credit. It's not that they were all unforced turnovers, They helped force some of those, too."
Wolverine head coach Butch Goncharoff praised the adjustments made at halftime by his defense.
"Coach (James) Hasty made some great adjustments at halftime," Goncharoff said. "We also played with more composure in the second half."
Bellevue quarterback Tyler Hasty discussed the importance of knocking off two national powers in Oaks Christian (Calif.) and Skyline on the road to start the season.
"This gives us a lot of momentum," Hasty said. "We know that we can compete with anyone even in California, and we can win."
Skyline takes to the road next week as they battle Lake Oswego High School, in Lake Oswego, Ore. The start time is 7 p.m.