How Bishop Kelly and Skyview can win the 4A state title

rroberts@idahostatesman.comNovember 22, 2013 

  • ALL-TIME SERIES

    YEAR: WINNER SCORE

    2013: Bishop Kelly 14-10

    2012: Bishop Kelly 24-12

    2011: Skyview 28-27

    2010: Bishop Kelly 15-13

    2009: Bishop Kelly 41-13

    2008: Skyview 28-24

    2007: Bishop Kelly 21-14

    2006: Skyview 32-28

    2005: Bishop Kelly 34-0

    2004: Bishop Kelly 35-7

    2002: Skyview 18-13

    2000: Skyview 23-20

    1997: Bishop Kelly 40-20

Local 4A powers Bishop Kelly and Skyview highlight a state championship doubleheader tonight at Bronco Stadium. Bishop Kelly beat Skyview 14-10 earlier this season — but that was 77 days ago. It could be a different story tonight — and 4A SIC coaches help us break down the big game.

HOW BISHOP KELLY CAN WIN …

Bishop Kelly has dominated with its defense this season, limiting opponents to an average of 10.4 points a game.

If ends Conner Mallet and Spencer King, and tackles Corey Hoch and Dom Fery put the pressure on Skyview quarterback Anthony Marin early, it could change the dynamic of this game.

Mallet (6-5, 215), King (6-5, 228), Hoch (6-3, 301) and Fery (6-0, 222) have the size to make most quarterbacks panic. They have combined for 20.5 sacks this season.

“The two D-ends for BK, they can really box you up and they are very, very athletic,” one 4A Southern Idaho Conference coach said. “... If they get to Marin early and kind of disrupt his timing a little bit, I think that could be a big impact.”

Offensively, Bishop Kelly leans toward the run, accumulating 1,972 yards on the ground with 27 touchdowns.

Seniors Matt Mello and Mark Greene have done the majority of the damage on the ground, and bruising fullback Cole Oliver comes in for the tough yards when needed. Mello leads the group with 841 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“I’m guessing that they’ll try to establish their ground game. They can line up in various formations and do different things, but one thing they can do, they’re big up front and they can line up and pound the ball on you,” another 4A SIC coach said. “I would suspect that that’s one of the things they’ll try to do is establish their ground game and then spin off that.”

If Bishop Kelly gets the ball rolling on the ground, it could open up big plays for quarterback Bowen Ogata and leading receiver Luke Meyers. Ogata, who has committed to Utah for baseball, has passed for 1,712 yards and 17 touchdowns with three interceptions.

“They know each other really well. They’ve played each other before and collected a lot of film over the course of the year, so I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of surprises,” a 4A SIC coach said.

“I think, really, it’s going to come down to a game not unlike their first game, with maybe a little bit more scoring. It’s going to be very tight and probably come down to making a play when they need it, a turnover here, turnover there type thing. It’s going to be a very good game.”

HOW SKYVIEW CAN WIN …

Skyview is averaging more points than any other team in the 4A Southern Idaho Conference this season.

Through 11 games, the Hawks have churned out an average of 487.2 yards and 44.9 points per game.

The key player behind the attack is senior quarterback Anthony Marin, who has passed for 2,813 yards and 35 touchdowns with four interceptions. He has completed passes to 10 different receivers, and five of them have 249 or more yards.

“I would anticipate that both offenses will start kind of slow, just because of what’s at stake. It’s a state championship game,” a 4A SIC coach said.

“But after that, probably each team’s first, maybe second possession, then we’re going to see what they do. You’re going to kind of settle in and allow the playmakers to kind of take over.”

Skyview has a relatively balanced offense — passing for 2,886 yards and rushing for 2,473 — and opposing coaches believe it is the combined strength of those two facets that make the Hawks difficult to contain.

“Skyview has way too much firepower in the running game and the passing game,” another 4A SIC coach said after seeing the Hawks put up 50 or more points five times this season.

When things aren’t working through the air, the Hawks can go to senior running back Jaxon Pryor. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder has 215 carries for 1,414 yards and 22 touchdowns.

“If they settle down and say, ‘Hey, Jaxon Pryor, take the game over,’ he’s the kid that can definitely do it,” a 4A SIC coach said.

Although Skyview’s defense has allowed more points (14.9) this season than Bishop Kelly (10.4), the Hawks have several explosive defenders who can change the game with one play.

Senior defensive back Hagen Graves has eight interceptions, and senior linebacker Pearce Roberts has recorded 23 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks.

“They played the first game of the season, and it was a 14-10 ballgame,” a 4A SIC coach said. “I think it’s a very evenly matched game. It’s going to come down to little things, like who can finish drives, who can hang on to the ball and not turn it over.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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