Strong second half propels Bobcats to victory (with post-game video)

SMITHFIELD – After a neck-and-neck first half, a strong third quarter helped the Sky View football team beat the Brighton Bengals 34-24 and improve to 7-0. The Bengals came into Smithfield with a 5-1 record, and many believed it would be the Bobcat’s toughest test yet. After the first half, that appeared to be true.

“They definitely brought it to us,” wide receiver Breygan Holbrook said. “But we just wanted to stick to our game plan, go out and outwork them.”

Sky View was able to get out of the first half tied at 17. For the most part the team was playing from behind, but a relentless effort kept the game close. Every Bobcat score in the first half came after at least one fourth-down conversion during the drive.

Brighton struck first. After intercepting Sky View quarterback Garrison Beach, a 32-yard pass gave the Bengals first-and-goal from the 4-yard line, but the Sky View defense was able to limit Brighton to a field goal.

The Sky View offense responded with a field goal of their own to tie, but it didn’t come easily. It took 5:50 off the clock, and it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for a fumbled punt recovered by the Bobcats to keep the drive alive.

“Yeah, we only walked away with three points on that first drive, but it was a big, long drive,” head coach Craig Anhder said. “We were able to do a lot of things and I think it helped set the tone.”

It didn’t take long for Brighton to retake the lead. Immediately following a touchback off the kickoff, the Bengals completed an 80-yard touchdown pass from first down. Looking to tie the game again, Beach used his arm to move the ball slowly downfield. The Bobcats were faced with another fourth down when senior receiver Alex McRae brought a Beach pass 36 yards into the endzone.

Once again the Bengals fired right back. Brighton quarterback Andrew Covey attacked the Sky View defense with another deep touchdown pass, this one for 48 yards, just 17 seconds after the previous Bobcat score. Sky View was able to tie it up one last time nearing the end of the first half. Zach Morrison reeled in a pass to pick up a first down, followed by a 31-yard Bryce Mortenson touchdown catch. Mortenson moved up to the 18th spot in state record books for all-time in receiving yards.

“He takes care of the little tiny details, the things they don’t get recognition for,” Anhder said of Mortenson. “I think that is what makes him such a great player.”

Coming out of the first half tied at 17, quarterback Garrison Beach led the Bobcats down the field and into the redzone, but the offense settled for a field goal. It gave Sky View their first lead of the game. The three points may have sparked the third quarter fire, but it was the big guys on the Sky View defensive line that fueled it. Senior Colton Durrant made a one-handed interception and returned the ball 15 yards to the Bengal 3.

“I didn’t get blocked that play,” Durrant said. “So I kind of sat where I was, expecting a screen and the ball came. I stuck my hand up and it fell in my arms.”

A few plays later, defensive end Jake Pitcher caught Beach’s touchdown pass to take a 24-14 lead.

“I think that pass was intended for Bryce (Mortenson),” Anhder said. “Pitcher just saw the ball in the air and we tell our guys, ‘When the ball is in the air, it’s yours.’”

Each team would end up scoring one more touchdown in the game. Sky View’s came at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a Beach pass to Breygan Holbrook. Brighton’s came from running back Sione Lund as time was winding down.

The Bobcats will travel to Roy next week to take on the Royals, who lost to Mountain Crest on a last-second touchdown pass Friday.

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