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Football: Skyline clinches second-consecutive 4A championship berth

Skyline running back Kyler Morgan (2) rushes down the field during Friday’s 4A state semifinal against Middleton. Chris Bronson / Idaho Press Tribune

By PAUL LAMBERT | Post Register | Prsports@Postregister.com
MIDDLETON — The Skyline High School football team gave up the big play, but still landed in the big game.

The Grizzlies defeated Middleton 21-13 at a foggy Vikings Stadium on Friday to advance to its second consecutive 4A state title game.

Skyline (9-2) will face Minico, which upset No. 1 state ranked and previously unbeaten Skyview 29-28 in the other semifinal.

“Now we get to play for the title at Holt, and we love that place,” senior lineman Dylan Kaasa said. “Yeah, and I’ve got a great feeling.”

Skyline gave up 303 total yards in the win, 187 of those coming on just five plays.

For their part, the Grizz put up 410 yards of offense, including a game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter, culminating in a 10-yard pass from Dylan Bialas to Easton Taylor to give Skyline (9-2) an eight-point lead with seven minutes left.

But perhaps the most impressive drive of the night for Skyline came in the first quarter.

After going 3-and-out on their first drive of the game, Skyline bounced back with a deliberate, determined 17-play, 80-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown, a drive that ate up more than six minutes.

Skyline celebrates after getting a turnover in the second half of Friday’s 4A state semifinal against Middleton. Chris Bronson / Idaho Press Tribune

“We knew we had to come out and dominate the ball, and our backs were hitting those holes like none other,” Kaasa said. “We knew we were going to have to work to get that space, and we were able to do that.”

Despite the big plays, the Skyline defense allowed just one touchdown to the hometown Vikings, limiting Middleton to just 13 first downs.

The Grizzlies forced Middleton (8-4) to kick field goals on two red zone trips, and senior defensive back Jaden Landes ended another with an interception in the end zone.

For Landes, it was his third pick over the past two weeks.

“Yeah, its just one of those things,” Landes said, shrugging off the interception. “Coming in, we knew we had to take away the inside routes, and we came out aggressive.”

Bialas’ favorite target of the night was senior Caleb Mayes who caught 10 passes for 130 yards, accounting for the bulk of Skyline’s 177 passing yards.

Over and over again, Bialis hit Mayes on a quick out on the right side of the formation. Of Bialas’ final eight completions, seven went to Mayes.

“Just knowing the team trusts me to make big plays gives me confidence,” Mayes said. “We started kind of rough this season, but once we found our identity, we got rolling. And now we’re back (in the title game).”

Bialas also rushed for 64 yards and a score, and senior tailback Kyler Morgan led all rushers with 116 yards, scoring the first touchdown of the night for the Grizz.

SKYLINE 21, MIDDLETON 13
Skyline 6 8 0 7 — 21
Middleton 10 0 3 0 — 13
First quarter
M — Neal Weber 21 FG 9:17
S — Kyler Morgan 2 run (pass failed) 3:01
M — Hayden Smith 35 pass from Darin Post (Weber kick) 1:00
Second quarter
S — Dylan Bialas 7 run (Morgan pass from Bialas) 7:27
Third quarter
M — Weber 21 FG 7:45
Fourth quarter
S — Easton Taylor 10 pass from Bialas (Analee Cortez kick) 7:15
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING — Skyline: Morgan 23-116, Bialas 15-64, Lukas Herrmann 8-53. Middleton: Jake Tuckett 6-24, Post 3-19, Mitch Beitia 3-14.
PASSING — Skyline: Bialas 16-20-1-177. Middleton: Post 15-27-1-250.
RECEIVING — Skyline: Caleb Mayes 11-130, Herrmann 1-19, Kodiak Hussey 2-13, Taylor 1-10, Morgan 1-5. Middleton: Landon Ebbers 5-110, Jackson Leiby 1-57, Hayden Smith 2-31, Logan Wahl 3-28, Carson Smith 1-11, Beitia 2-7, Alex Wright 1-5.

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