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Millcreek Journal

Eagle football excited for a full season of opportunity

Aug 03, 2021 03:13PM ● By Daniel Olsen

By Daniel Olsen | [email protected]

After a season in which they lost only one regular season game to their crosstown rival Olympus Titans, the Skyline Eagles football team has one thing on their mind: a state championship. It won’t be easy as the 5A classification is full of tough teams. The Orem Tigers defeated the Eagles by three touchdowns in the quarterfinals last year. 

“I’m excited to play all the games this year,” Skyline coach John Rowbotham said. “We are fortunate to have a full season. We missed one game due to COVID-19 last year. We are appreciative to play at all. The kids are excited to play against anybody.”

There will be an all Eagle battle to kick off the season when Skyline travels to play the Soaring Eagles of Juan Diego Catholic High School on Friday, August 13, 2021. The game will kick off at 7 PM Mountain Time. 

Juan Diego is one of the top teams in 3A and has been for some time now. They have eight state championships to their name. While Skyline has won 14 championships in program history, they haven’t won since 2005. There is motivation for every position to do their part to make the team successful.

Coach Rowbotham, first year head coach for Skyline, played for some of the great championship teams under Roger Dupaix in the late 90’s. He has become a big part of the program and, although he has hung up the cleats, the program is still a big part of him from a coaching perspective. 

“Being an assistant helps you learn techniques from head coaches,” coach Rowbotham said. “I care a lot about our student athletes.  I’ve learned from great head coaches. They are amazing men that care about the kids they coach and the assistant coaches as well. I’ve been under people who really care about the people in the program.”

“I love the camaraderie that comes with football,” Rowbotham said. “The focus is on a group of people working towards a common goal. It’s a unique way of bringing people together.”

The Eagles just finished up fall camp and are locked in on preparing for their opening game against Juan Diego. They defeated the Layton Lancers 21-7 in their season opener in 2020.

“I love the offseason,” coach Rowbotham said. “The kids spend time together and get to know each other. They get in the weight room, run and go to camps and different things.”

There will be a new quarterback under center with Braxton Bolingbroke graduating and now playing for Pacific Lutheran University.

The four athletes in contention for this coveted spot are Justice Fons, Beau Grandon, Alexander Emery and Andrew Rasmussen.

High School football focuses heavily on how many stars a player has on their Hudl profile. For the Eagles, the focus is more on the team than certain individuals. 

“It’s hard to pin down any one player,” Rowbotham said. “Last year some kids graduated. It was a wonderful group that worked really hard to be successful. We have a great group of kids offensively and defensively.”

One of those kids that spends his time in the trenches is senior James Kerr. He spends most of his time on the offensive line but also helps with the defensive line as well. He is a three year starter and looking to help lead the team to a state championship.

“Every day we are taking a step forward,” Kerr said. “We have great leadership on the offensive and defensive line. We have notable returning starters. All five starters on the offensive line made it somewhere on the All-State or All-Region list on either the first or second team last year.”

The Eagles will have to be stout on both lines to create advantageous field position. Juan Diego is a tough out at their 3A classification right out of the gate.

They are a great program and have been super successful over the last couple years,” Kerr said. “Great players come in and out of their program. This matchup will be really good. They have been successful in their classification. Their defensive line is strong. We will take what they throw at us. It will be a hard fought battle.”

Kerr brings experience and has learned to do his job the right way since he joined the program.  This bodes well for him individually and the team as a whole.

“I’ve made leaps and bounds,” Kerr said. “I’m hoping to make the same jump this season and improve across my game. We get to play against some great competition this year. I want to goo against the hardest competition I can. Whatever anyone throws at me, I’ll take it. I’m excited to be a leader. And see how the offensive line progresses.”

The offensive line will certainly be tested as Region 6 added Park City and East. They will give Skyline a great challenge as they have great defensive lines. They have great competition which will help the team grow and become a stronger unit.

While last season was successful, the Eagles will be looking to have an improved season in terms of beating their rival. They have now lost three consecutive rivalry matchups to the Titans in the Battle of the Rock. They will look to advance further than the quarterfinals as well. 5A is a competitive classification and they may have to go against the Orem Tigers, the winners of four straight championships.

“I think that we have a strong group of receivers and running backs returning,” Kerr said. “We are a strong group as a team. Other teams won’t want to lighten up against us. We are in a tough region in the 5A classification. I’m super excited for what the season brings. Against tough teams we just need to play our game and trust the process.”