Gilbert pulls upset over Skyline

Gilbert pulls upset over Skyline


Gilbert pulls upset over Skyline


Gilbert arrived at Mesa Skyline for a Division I contest Friday night that pitted an upstart squad that chews up yards against a mistake-prone team suffering through a tough season.

Nobody expected that Gilbert would defeat Skyline 31-22, and would be the more talented and disciplined team on the night.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Gilbert (2-6) marched down the field with relative ease before quarterback Conner Helvig found running back Taylor Malolo for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Then, Gilbert caught Skyline off guard and recovered the ensuing onside kick to get back on offense.

Helvig would have a tremendous first half, going 10-for-14 for 118 yards and three touchdowns. He’d slow down in the second half, but would end with 200 yards passing, completing 17-of-26 passes. Helvig connected with wide receiver Maurice Thomas from 35 yards and 23 yards, both for touchdowns.

On the ground, Helvig carved up the defense with 97 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Running back Taylor Malolo rushed 11 times for 73 yards.

Skyline (5-4) showed signs of life throughout the game, but couldn’t pick up key first downs when they needed them. Quarterback Michael Amado had a solid start to the game, completing 4-of-5 passes for 45 yards in the first half to go along with his five rushes for 50 yards and a touchdown.

The second half was a much different story. Once his team got into obvious passing situations, the Gilbert defense swarmed him and would record four sacks in the second half, including three of the last four plays. Amado was just 3-for-9 for 60 yards in the second half.

Gilbert head coach Leland Rogers noted that these were the same guys that have been playing all year and a combination of good coaching and work ethic brought them to this point.

“We’re better than our record,” Rogers said. “We’ve had to play some really tough teams, but we’ve matured a lot from last year until now.”

Skyline’s feature back, Francisco Avitia, battled through a rib injury that he re-aggravated against Highland. He finished with 13 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns, but head coach Angelo Paffumi noted that he “was great in the open, but was a bit tentative when contact was coming.”

Paffumi took much of the blame for the loss.

“We weren’t prepared for their spread offense,” Paffumi said. “It wasn’t something we saw on tape, so we didn’t think to prepare for it. It didn’t help that we couldn’t tackle in the open field.”


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