It wasn’t easy, but the Bobcats will certainly take the end result.
Kason Carlsen tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two more as No. 1 Sky View held up No. 2 Pine View, 39-33, in a wildly entertaining 4A state championship football game on Saturday afternoon in St. George.
In the process, the Bobcats (13-0) were able to defend their state title and cap off their first undefeated season in program history. Sky View will take a 25-game winning streak into the 2021 season.
The Bobcats were one of three high school teams to go undefeated from the Beehive State this season, joining three-time reigning 6A champion Corner Canyon (14-0) and 2A titleist Beaver (13-0).
Both teams scored at least one touchdown in every quarter. However, the Bobcats were able to take a two-possession lead at 26-13 early with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter on a 12-yard scamper by Carlsen. Sky View never allowed Pine View (12-2) to pull even, although the Panthers did get as close as six points on three occasions.
Both defense struggled to contain the opposing offenses, but the Bobcats were able to force four turnovers. Titan Saxton and Hunter Lewis intercepted passes, while Evan Hall and Davis Hall recovered fumbles. Conversely, Sky View only turned the ball over once.
The Bobcats found the end zone on three of their four possessions in the first half and took a 20-13 lead into the locker room. Sky View found consistent success running the football during the first two quarters with Walter Collins, Kason Carlsen and Truman Moser, coupled with an occasional fly sweep to Isaac Larsen.
And while they did the lion’s share of their damage on the ground, the Bobcats came up with some huge passing plays. Carlsen tossed a pair of touchdowns in the opening half — the first to Trey Nyman on a third-and-13 play in the first quarter, and the second to Saxton on a second-and-17 play.
Nyman showcased outstanding concentration on his 22-yard scoring reception as a Pine View safety was inches away from batting it away or picking it off. Saxton also beat a Pine View defensive back over the middle of the field on his 22-yard TD catch in the second quarter.
Moser powered his way into the end zone from 4 yards out to give the Region 11 champs a 20-13 advantage with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Carlsen found Nyman for a 11-yard pass on third and 11 to keep the Bobcat drive away.
Carlsen, Collins and Larsen teamed up for more than 300 yards rushing for the Bobcats, who got another impressive performance from their veteran offensive line.
Carlsen’s other scoring run was a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter, and Larsen found paydirt later in the quarter on an explosive 67-yard scamper after receiving the pigskin on a fly sweep.
Brayden Bunnell threw four TD passes for the Panthers, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped. Preston Mann hauled in three of those scoring passes, while speedster Dominique McKenze caught a TD and ran for another one.
Pine View fell to 0-7 all-time in state championship games.
BOBCATS 39, PANTHERS 33
Saturday at St. George
P. View 6 7 7 13 — 33
Sky View 6 14 6 13 — 39
PV — Dominique McKenzie 3 run (kick blocked by Isaac Larsen), 10:49.
SV — Trey Nyman 22 pass from Kason Carlsen (kick blocked), 5:26.
SV — Titan Saxton 22 pass from Carlsen (Kasen Erickson), 10:59.
PV — Preston Mann 13 pass from Brayden Bunnell (kick good), 8:34.
SV — Truman Moser 4 run (Erickson kick), :46.
SV — Carlsen 12 run (kick failed), 7:04.
PV — Mann 35 pass from Bunnell (kick good), 1:31.
SV — Carlsen 1 run (run failed), 10:24.
PV — Mann 6 pass from Bunnell (kick good), 8:24.
SV — Larsen 67 run (kick good), 6:58.
PV — McKenzie 40 pass from Bunnell (kick failed), 5:54.