High school football teams win games by playing hard and playing smart.
Skyline has the playing hard part down. The Eagles played aggressive football and never backed down during their final game of the regular season on Friday night against visiting Tecumseh. They were fired up and played with plenty of enthusiasm hoping to send the seniors off with a victory.
Unfortunately, this brings us to the playing smart part.
Skyline was probably the better football team but we’ll never know because they gifted the visitors around 200 yards in penalties including numerous personal-foul calls. And some penalties wiped out some nice plays. It’s a difficult task to win a game with so many penalties – and the Eagles almost pulled it off.
When you give away yards and first downs, you eventually give away the game and that’s what the Eagles did in a 27-18 loss to the Indians.
Skyline finished the season 0-7 in the SEC Red and 0-9 overall. They have won just three games in the last three years – although last year was a shortened season. And the Eagles did beat Pioneer this year before the game was ruled a forfeit because of an ineligible player.
Tecumseh finished the season at 4-5.
The Indians took the opening drive and marched 80 yards right down the field and scored on a 5-yard run for a 7-0 lead with 10:11 left to play in the first quarter.
Skyline answered on its opening drive. A 32-yard pass from junior QB Evan Rothenberg to senior receiver William Gardner, who made a spectacular catch, moved the ball to the Tecumseh 17-yard line. Rothenberg kept the ball on a 1-yard TD run to put the Eagles on the board. The extra-point attempt was failed as the Indians led 7-6 with 6:13 left in the quarter.
But Tecumseh answered Skyline’s answer with another march down the field, thanks to two unsportsmanlike penalties. The Indians went ahead 14-6 on a 2-yard run to take a 14-6 lead with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
Tecumseh led 14-6 at halftime as the defenses dominated the second quarter.
Tecumseh took a 21-6 lead with 1:56 to go in the third quarter.
Rothenberg and Gardner hooked up again, this time all the way to the Tecumseh 2-yard line. But the Eagles failed to score on four attempts as the Indians held to keep the 15-point lead.
But the Skyline defense picked up the offense as senior Evan Dunham recovered a fumble in the end zone on the Indians’ first play after stopping Skyline on downs. Another unsportsmanlike penalty on Skyline pushed the extra-point attempt back to the 30-yard line and outstanding kicker Colin Brueger just missed from 40 yards out.
Tecumseh led 21-12 with 9:12 left to play.
Skyline got the ball back and converted a big third-down pass from Rothenberg to Evan Dunham. They converted another long pass play but this was called back for holding.
Tecumseh scored in the final 2 minutes to take a 27-12 lead.
Skyline would add a late touchdown to finish the scoring at 27-18,