Given recent history, Friday's final score from Kiggins Bowl might have surprised area high school football observers.
But Prairie's 31-17 win over Skyview was not a shock to the Falcons.
The Class 3A school made most of the big plays and pounded the 4A Skyview defense between the tackles to the tune of 284 rushing yards. Sophomore Dallas Goodpaster ran for 173 yards and scored the clinching touchdown on a 35-yard run with 3:58 left in the game.
"Tonight's win gives our kids a tremendous amount of confidence," Prairie coach Terry Hyde said. "Obviously, Skyview is an extremely good program, so this shows our kids they can compete with anybody."
Prairie never trailed. And the Falcons came up with every game-changing play.
On offense, Jason Bracken caught two clutch touchdowns. On defense, Matt Vick and Jacob George made opportunistic interceptions. George's pick came in the closing minutes in the end zone on a tipped ball as the Storm were trying to climb back to within a single touchdown.
Prairie quarterback Tyler Armstrong completed only seven of 12 passes. But three of them went for scores. Twice he found Bracken over the middle in clutch situations, and both times Bracken turned the play into points.
Late in the second quarter, it was Bracken catching a pass over the middle and spinning away from a tackler producing a 30-yard score on fourth-and-4.
In the fourth quarter, a similar play turned a third-and-12 into a 23-yard Prairie touchdown that made the score 24-10 Falcons with nine minutes remaining.
"The play-action pass worked really well for us," Hyde said of those plays, on which a fake handoff allowed Bracken to slip into vacant space behind linebackers. "Tyler threw some really good balls."
Armstrong's other touchdown pass opened the scoring. Taylor Martin stretched out for a diving catch in the end zone, a 25-yard play that capped an 80-yard, eight play drive early in the second quarter.
While Prairie did a lot of work on the ground, Skyview tried to keep pace through the air. The Storm used three quarterbacks and threw for 239 yards but struggled to finish drives.
Starting quarterback Mavericq Yamaguchi was 15 for 23 for 162 yards. But his night ended in the third quarter when an attempted screen pass was intercepted by Vick. Yamaguchi appeared to be injured on the play, and juniors Zac Shomler and Tyler Johnson took turns at quarterback in the fourth quarter.
Shomler threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Dennis on fourth down to pull Skyview within 24-17 with 6:31 left in the game. Dennis finished with 12 catches for 144 yards.
The Storm then kicked deep, but couldn't keep Prairie from putting away the game with five consecutive runs that covered 68 yards, Goodpaster's powerful 35-yard run capping the drive and a statement win for the Falcons.
PRAIRIE 31, SKYVIEW 17
Prairie 0 14 3 14--31
Skyview 0 3 7 7--17
Pra – Taylor Martin 25 pass from Tyler Armstrong (Scott Keyser kick)
Sky -- Braden Hadfield 28 FG
Pra – Jason Bracken 30 pass from Armstrong (Keyser kick)
Sky – Nate Arriola 28 run (Hadfield kick)
Pra – Keyser 37 FG
Pra – Jason Bracken 23 pass from Armstrong (Keyser kick)
Sky – Jacob Dennis 13 pass from Zac Schomler (Hadfield kick)
Pra – Dallas Goodpaster 35 run (Keyser kick)
RUSHIHG – Prairie: Dallas Goodpaster 22-173, Denzel Hamiel 14-69, Ronnie Evenden 6-28, Jordan Marti 2-10, Bracken 2-6. Skyview: Nate Arriola 14-82, Michael Knox 5-12, Alex Babichev 3-1, Dennis 1-0, Mavericq Yamaguchi 1-(minus 4).
PASSING – Prairie: Armstrong 7-12-0-141. Skyview: Yamaguchi 14-23-1-162, Taylor Johnson 4-9-1-32, Zac Shomler 5-7-0-45 .
RECEIVING – Martin 2-58, Bracken 4-60, Marti 1-7. Skyview: Jacob Dennis 12-144, Noah Bonner 5-51, Dylan Kingg 4-23, Josh Wilkerson 2-12, Alex Babichev 1-9.