In what was a great basketball ... er, rather football ... game Friday night, Skyline racked up 64 points in a 64-44 win over Warsaw in the last regular season game of the year. The second-seeded Tigers will host seventh-seeded Ash Grove this Friday in the opening round of the Class 1, District 2 Tournament.
Skyline finished the regular season with a 6-3 record, and Coach Brandon Shelby pointed out that the three losses were to teams with just one loss each - Fair Grove, Strafford and El Dorado Springs. El Do actually lost its second game of the year to Adrian Friday night, but Shelby didn’t know that at the time.
“The offense has been playing well,” Shelby said. “Our defense had problems, but you have give Warsaw credit, they have a big, physical team. We aren’t very big, but the kids played hard and I’m proud of them.”
in a game in which neither team was able to stop the other one consistently, Shelby was trying not to score 70 points, but it was difficult. The Tigers led 64-44 with 9:22 left in the game, and a 20-point lead was not safe. Ultimately the JVs did make an appearance, and “took a knee” four times around the Warsaw 12-yard-line. Skyline no doubt could have scored again.
“I didn’t want to run up the score,” Shelby said. “Ryan Boyer [Warsaw coach] and I go back a long way, he’s one of my best friends.”
Skyline reached the end zone first on a 36-yard pass play over the middle from quarterback Trevor Russell to Preston Scott with 4:11 remaining in the opening quarter. This climaxed a nine-play, 60-yard drive that featured some hard running by Tanner Swearingin and Gage Gunter. The two-point conversion failed, so the score was 6-0.
Warsaw came right back two minutes later and scored on a 13-yard run by Kieon Davis, who also ran the two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead.
That lead lasted only 10 seconds, however, as Trey Swearingin returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards down the right sideline for a TD. This time Russell successfully ran the two-point conversion, and Skyline was in front 14-8 with 1:58 left in the quarter.
Warsaw mounted a long drive, but fumbled and Skyline recovered on its own 8-yard line just five seconds into the second quarter. The Tigers responded by initiating another nine-play drive that this time covered 92 yards.
Key plays included the first one, a 16-yard gain when Russell pitched out to Gunter, all the way to the 24. Later, Russell ran a keeper for 12 yards to the 47. A couple of plays later Russell connected with Tanner Swearingin for a 17-yard gain to the Warsaw 25.
Tanner Swearingin eventually scored on a two-yard pass from Russell, and they repeated the act for two more points and a 22-8 advantage with 8:41 left in the half.
Warsaw responded once again two minutes later with a 6-yard touchdown run by Davis, who also ran the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 22-16.
The Wildcats tried an onside kick, but it didn’t work as Skyline recovered at its own 47. With the shorter field, it took the Tigers only four plays to reach the end zone. The drive was capped by a 24-yard touchdown pass play from Russell to Jaytin DeFreece. The run for two failed, so Skyline led 28-16 at the 5:03 mark.
Warsaw got back into the game on a 1-yard TD run by Davis, and less than a minute later Skyline rallied to score again on a 10-yard pass to Scott with just 43 seconds left before intermission. Skyline led at the half 34-22.
In the third quarter, Skyline scored two touchdowns in a minute and 12 seconds to make it 48-22. One was a five-yard toss from Russell to DeFreece and the next one covered 20 yards from Russell to Tanner Swearingin with 6;16 remaining in the third quarter.
The second TD came after the Tigers recovered a fumble at the Warsaw 19.
One would think at this point that Skyline had the game under control as the Wildcats would have to score four times to beat them. But quarterback Brady Slavens connected with Clayton Simons on a 23-yard TD pass play to make it 48-30.
Just three seconds into the final period, Gunter reached the end zone from the 3, and Tanner Swearingin ran the two-pointer for a 56-30 lead.
Warsaw refused to go away, though, and scored two more touchdowns before the game was over. One was a 41-yard pass play from Slavens to Davis, and the other was a 54-yard run by Davis.
Sandwiched in between those two TDs was a 30-yard touchdown run by Russell, and ultimately Skyline came away with a 64-44 win.