Turnovers have often been called the great equalizer in football.
When two teams are closely matched, giveaways have the opposite effect.
Such was the case Friday at Nick Ysursa Field, where host Bishop Kelly ran away with the 4A Southern Idaho Conference title. The Knights forced six turnovers — four in the first half — on their way to a dominating 50-21 victory over Skyview.
Bishop Kelly (8-0, 6-0 4A SIC) clinches the top seed from District Three for the upcoming state tournament. The three-time defending state champs also extended their winning streak to 16 games.
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“I thought we dominated defensively,” BK coach Tim Brennan said. “We knew we had to put pressure on their quarterback because he’s pretty good if you let him sit back there and throw it. Our kids executed the game plan and did a great job.”
Skyview (5-3, 4-2) got off to a good start, forcing a punt and marching to a quick touchdown on a 26-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Wyatt Storer to standout receiver Kyle Pierce.
But the lead did not last long. Bishop Kelly answered immediately, with senior quarterback Bronson King finding Cameron Foley wide open between the hash marks for an 80-yard catch-and-run.
The floodgates opened in the second quarter. Fueled by three fumble recoveries, the Knights quickly built a 28-7 halftime lead. King scored on runs of 6 and 2 yards — the second one following a Skyview fumble near its goal line — and Ben Hruby added a 4-yard TD run moments after the Hawks’ third fumble.
That would be more than enough for the BK defense, which also racked up five sacks, blocked a field goal and stuffed a fake punt attempt.
“We knew we had to create pressure, force some fumbles and get some sacks,” said BK linebacker Daniel Cantrell, who had two sacks. “Our defensive coordinator, coach (George) Gamber, had a great scheme. We used a lot of misdirection, and they never really knew where we were coming from.”
In the second half, Hruby tossed a halfback pass to Raoul Johnson for six, Vince Sengelmann caught a touchdown and intercepted two passes, and Foley broke another big play on an 86-yard touchdown run.
Skyview’s prolific passing attack racked up 262 yards, with Storer throwing 56 passes. He completed 32, including 16 to Pierce for 153 yards and three TDs. But the Knights had three interceptions and largely held the Hawks in check when it mattered.
“We worked really hard all week in practice,” said BK defensive back Logan Hibbs, who finished with 14 tackles and an interception. “They’ve got great wide receivers, so we knew we had our work cut out for us. It was unexpected (to force six turnovers), but we’re definitely happy with the result.”