What a game, what a season for the Skyline Thunderbirds of Pratt
Last Friday, the Skyline Thunderbirds football team took on Goessel High School in the second round of playoffs. The November 6 game, played in Pratt, was close throughout regulation, so close that a winner couldn’t be determined in four quarters or even after one overtime. In the second overtime, Goessel put up 6 unanswered points, enough to win the game 54-48 and end the T-Birds season.
“Everyone was very grateful for having the opportunity to play,” said head coach Andrew Nation. “Nobody thought we'd get all of them in and to enjoy the success we had is testament to how these boys took advantage of their opportunity each and every week.”
Coach Nation is referring to the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to the school year and sports alike, but the T-Birds were able to play all of their scheduled games this year, unlike other area schools.
In the first quarter, Thunderbirds found the endzone just one time, but the game was close at the end of the first with Goessel leading 8-6. Both offenses got rolling in the second quarter, with a combined six touchdowns scored by the two teams. Skyline put 16 points on the board but were once again outscored by Goessel, who stretched their lead with 26 points in the second. At the half time break, Skyline trailed 22-34. The TBirds were ready to take the lead in the third quarter, and that is exactly what they did. The offense carried momentum into the third quarter and scored 14 points. The Thunderbirds defense found their rythym, shutting out Goessel in the third quarter. Going into the final quarter, the TBirds had a two point lead, 36-34. The game didn’t seem like it could get much closer, but it did in the fourth quarter. Skyline put up six points, but Goessel evened the scored with eight points of their own. On to overtime the game went, all tied up at 42. The neck and neck game continued in overtime, as both teams found the endzone one time. At the end of the first overtime, the score was still tied, deadlocked at 48. The game would finally be decided in the second overtime. After Goessel scored a touchdown, it was up to the T-Birds to find the endzone to keep their season alive. Jesus Cases, the TBirds leading rusher with over 1,300 yards on the season, was stopped just short of the goal line. Skyline lost a hard fought battle to a strong and fast Goessel team. They finished the season 8-2, with their only loses coming to Kiowa County and Goessel.
“Gotta thank our seniors and all their parents. Our underclassmen jumped in with them and did their part to make this season what it was. They all helped create a great team culture that carried us this whole season,” said Nation.
Senior Braden Tyler rushed for 1,009 yards on the season and scored 22 touchdowns. Tyler also led the T-Birds in tackles, with 90 on the season. Freshman Braden Berens rushed for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns. Berens also threw for 826 yards and 16 touchdowns. Berens is credited with 1463 total yards and 28 touchdowns. Jesus Casas, a junior, tallied 2,149 yards on the ground, through the air, and on pump and kick returns for the season, leading the Thunderbirds. Seniors Aden Temanson, 72, and Tyler Wray, 59, led Skyline in tackles behind Tyler. Temanson and Wray led the Thunderbirds in sacks as well, tallying 10 and eight respectively.
“Last Friday night affirmed my belief that this team is about more than football. They were sad the season was over but they were more thankful for the relationships they had made during the season. We will have a lot to reflect on, be proud of, and draw motivation from it in the future,” said Nation.