The Sky View Bobcats went into Friday night’s game as the underdogs against the 5A powerhouse Northridge Knights. In the first quarter it appeared the odds makers were spot on in their estimation of the match up. But the undersized underdog Bobcats refused to roll over and battled back in a losing effort that saw them fall 13-30.
The Sky View Bobcats had a big challenge in front of them as they prepared to face the Northridge Knights, a solid 5A team from Layton, Utah. On a good day the Bobcats would have had their hands full against the Knights, but add in the fact that the Cats were preparing for this game with a backup quarterback in sophomore, Braxton Godderidge and the task at hand for Sky View becomes that much more daunting.
The Sky View linemen were a bit undersized compared to the offensive and defensive lines of Northridge, and maybe there is something in the water in Layton because, the line was a bit undersized compared to 6’5” 220 pound senior quarterback Karson Casteel. The big quarterback would engineer three scoring drives in the first quarter that would chew up a good majority of the clock and result in 20 points when the buzzer rang. The first drive ended when Casteel found fellow senior receiver Kalen Larsen from 19 yards out. The next scoring drive finished with Austin Tate scampering past several Sky View defenders to find pay dirt from 18 yards out. The final score was a deep pass when Casteel hooked up, from 49 yards out, with junior David Adams. The knights used a plethora of kickers on the night as Seth Christensen hit the first Point After Touchdown (PAT), followed by a missed PAT by Luis Gutierrez after the second score, and a made PAT by Alex Neff after the third score.
The second quarter saw a Bobcat defense that stiffened up and shutdown a few Knight drives, and left the Knights heading into the locker room with only 3 second quarter points after Seth Christensen punched in a 29 yard field goal. Casteel’s numbers were as big as his frame as he ended up going 13-for-24 on the night racking up 245 passing yards along the way.
The Bobcats put together a big drive late in the half that made it to the 7 yard line before one of a few offside penalties would back up the Cats who would miss on the ensuing field goal try.
Whatever Head Coach Craig Anhder said to his team at halftime it must have inspired the Bobcats to new heights. Sophomore Braxton Godderidge found senior Brandon Burger deep down the right side of the field and hit him in stride. Burger reigned in the 41 yard pass around the 6 yard line and finished the play with a sprint to the end zone to put the first points of the year on the board for the Cats. Josh Egbert split the uprights on the PAT and just like that the Bobcats lit up the scoreboard at 7-23.
Northridge added 7 more points in the fourth when Casteel tossed his third touchdown pass to Austin Tate for a 10 yard score. Alex Neff added the extra point and final number for the Knights as the score was 7-30 in favor of Northridge.
A tough defensive fourth quarter kept the Knights from scoring again and stalled a few Northridge drives. The Cats offense refused to roll over and die, and towards the end of the fourth the Cats pushed their way deep into Knights territory. A combination of Corey Jensen, and Zach Allen catches mixed in with Alex Watts’ legs moved the Bobcats down to the 5 yard line. Sprinting around the left side corner Alex Watts plunged into the end zone and put the final points on the board as the clock ticked down under the two minute mark. An attempted 2 point conversion pass was not caught and the rest as they say is history.
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Godderidge impressed the Sky View crowd with his maturity in this game. Given the huge task of guiding the Bobcats with not much experience under his belt Godderidge hung in on some big pressure plays and delivered the ball. Godderidge finished the night 15-of-29 for 169 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.
Handling the bulk of the rushing duties was senior Alex Watts with 17 for 51 yards, and 1 touchdown. Senior Corey Jensen led the receiving core in yardage with his 4 catches for 50 yards, and added 2 more yards on 1 carry from scrimmage. Jensen was followed in receiving yards by Brandon Burger with his 1 catch for 41 yards, and 1 touchdown. Also busy reigning in passes on the night senior Dalton Goodey caught 1 pass for 26 yards. Godderidge hooked up 3 times with senior Corbin Lee for 20 yards, 3 times with senior Zach Allen for 14 yards, and 2 more times with Alex Watts for 16 yards.
Defensively the Bobcats registered a couple of sacks on the night, a 7 yard loss attributed to Ethan Dursteler was one of his 4 tackles, and a 5 yard loss on a sack by Tre Hansen was one of Hansen’s 3 tackles, and 3 assists. Cole Bangerter was busy slaying Knights Friday with his 7 tackles and 4 assists. Milyon Chantry added some pressure on the defensive side of the ball with 1 tackle and 4 assists. Corey Jensen contributed on both sides of the ball as he added 3 tackles and 4 assists.
Corey Jensen also contributed on special teams with a 21 yard punt return. Milyon Chantry returned 3 kickoffs for 55 yards with a long return of 23 yards. The Bobcats were forced to punt the ball 5 times for 181 yards.
After the game Coach Anhder was very emphatic that this Sky View organization does not believe in moral victories. The fact that for three quarters the Bobcats outscored the Knights 13-10 was not lost on Anhder, but the 20 points given up in the first quarter was the focus of the after game speech given to the team. Anhder said, “We’ve got to start faster, we have to come out and know the game has started and we’ve got to play right now.”
Anhder had nothing but praise for his sophomore quarterback. Anhder referred to a couple of interceptions thrown in the game saying one of those they told him to put up there and it resulted in a tipped ball and a turnover. Speaking of Godderidge, Anhder said, “An impressive, impressive young man to step in and manage the game like he did.”
Speaking about the enormous challenge that the undersized lines faced on the night Anhder commented, “Our O-Line grew up quite a bit in that game, and that was very pleasing to see them do that. We knew we’d be small on the offensive line and defensive line, but we were able to run down hill with some strong run plays and I was pleased with that. Our D-Line, I felt where they got their big plays were on the outsides. I thought our D-Line played well.”
When asked about his ability to run the ball tonight and how he felt about the game Alex Watts said, “Our O-Line did a really good job with their blocking and opened up some holes. We can’t feel happy about it especially after that outcome, we’ve just got to work harder and get better.”
The players shared the coaches sentiments of winning a few battles but losing the war and the attitude echoed Ander’s in their disappointment over the loss. Excited about his first catch and first touchdown as a varsity player Brandon Burger expressed his mixed emotions when asked how he felt about the touchdown saying, “It felt pretty good I was excited, but now I’m a little mad that we didn’t win.” As for the catch that resulted in the touchdown Burger said, “It was good timing by the line to give the quarterback time to check down and find the open route. Godderidge delivered the perfect ball and I was just there doing my job.”
Godderidge felt pretty good about his play but said, “I can’t get too excited about the way I played because we didn’t come away with the victory. The first snap I was a little bit nervous but got over it, and I thought it was a great learning experience for me, I think I grew a lot.”
Corey Jensen speaking of his catches commented, “Braxton delivered some good passes and our line held them and gave him the time he needed so I thought we did good personally. Like the coaches said it was 13-10 after the first quarter, so we didn’t give up but we didn’t come away with the victory.” Defensively Jensen was a bit discouraged about the few big plays that resulted in scores in the first quarter. For next week Jensen explained what he’d have to do saying, “I’ve just got to be more patient on those deep routes and the bootlegs, we’ve just got to do better.”
Last year was perhaps one of the toughest pre-season schedules in Sky View history as they played four of the top seven 5A teams in the state. This pre-season may not be as tough a schedule but the Bobcats do not have any easy pre-season games. Next week will be another big test for the resolve and character of this team as they face off against a solid 5A school in Highland of Idaho hailing from Pocatello. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for next Friday the 26th at 7:00 p.m.