Max Madden
ASU Student Journalist

Glover’s Monstrous Performance Propels Skyline to 41-3 Rout of Valley Vista

September 3, 2017 by Max Madden, Arizona State University

MESA – It was as dominant of a performance that a player can have at any level of the game, and it came during a marquee matchup between two dark horse programs competing for their respective 6A region titles.

Senior Darius Glover led the Skyline Coyotes (2-1) to a 41-3 victory over the Valley Vista Monsoons (0-2) Friday night at Skyline Stadium in Mesa, managing touchdowns on both sides of the ball and recording two interceptions during the blowout victory.

Following the contest, Skyline offensive coordinator Bryan McDaniel raved about Glover’s athleticism and admitted that the team often depends on his ability to change the game.

“He’s a track kid, the kid can fly,” McDaniel said. “As long as he keeps the attitude where he’s gonna make plays happen, we’ll be alright. He’s a kid that we have to look to because he’s a senior.”

Both teams struggled to create offensive momentum during the majority of the first quarter, but the Coyotes were eventually able to break through in a big way.

With just under five minutes to go in the first period, Skyline junior quarterback Steven Castle kept the ball on a triple-option and spurted through a huge hole in the offensive line, rumbling untouched for a 63-yard touchdown that gave the Coyotes a 7-0 lead.

The Skyline offense was firing on all cylinders following last week’s 21-0 defeat to Highland in Gilbert – the program’s first shutout loss since 2012 – and Castle claimed that a revamped approach in the way that the Coyotes prepared was a large reason why.

“The practice definitely changed up, we fired off the ball, we got to stuff,” Castle said. “Even though it was hot, we still picked it up. We got it to our playmakers.”

The Skyline defense then forced Valley Vista into their fourth consecutive three-and-out, setting the stage for an electrifying play from the Coyotes’ special teams unit.

As soon as the Monsoons snapped the ball in punt formation, Coyotes sophomore linebacker Zach Kriens burst through the protection and blocked the kick, sending it flying towards the sideline before it was snatched out of the air by Glover and taken to the end zone for a touchdown. Skyline failed to execute a two-point conversion, keeping the score at 13-0 to end the first.

Castle began to develop a destructive rhythm on offense during the second quarter, picking apart the Valley Vista secondary with a 73-yard strike to sophomore receiver Marcus Brown and a touch pass to the corner of the end zone that was caught by Glover for a score, extending the Skyline lead to 20-0.

Glover then managed his second interception of the night on the ensuring Monsoons drive, setting up a quarterback sneak touchdown from Castle to move the score to 27-0 in favor of the Coyotes.

The Coyotes’ star playmaker often dominated lengthy stretches of the game Friday night, flying all over the field to make play after play. When asked how that performance stacked up against his other games, there was no hesitation.

“The best,” Glover said. “That was the best.”

Glover also mentioned that his coaching staff was looking for a playmaker to step up after last week's loss. It was a role he was ready for.

“When we get down and our coaches need someone to come up and do something I’m just like ‘coach I got you...I’ll make a play,’” Glover said. “If that means I gotta go on offense or defense, I’m going to do whatever just so we can win.”

Skyline running back junior Aaron Wood added to the Coyotes' lead midway through the third quarter, taking a handoff from the 5-yard line into the end zone to extend the lead to 34-0.

After the Monsoons answered with a 42-yard field goal, Castle managed a 61-yard score on a quarterback keeper to move the score to 41-3 with just over two minutes to go in the fourth.

It was a tremendous bounce-back performance for the Coyotes, as they were thoroughly dismantled last week in Gilbert. McDaniel admitted that he’s glad his team was able to shake off last week’s loss in order to improve, and stated that the explosive plays on offense were a confidence builder.

“After getting handled like that, when things start going downhill it’s hard to get out of that,” McDaniel said. “We started out better today and we had we had a couple big plays which helps out a lot.”

A matchup with the Desert Vista Thunder (1-1) awaits the Coyotes next Friday in Phoenix as Skyline looks to continue its campaign for a shot at the 6A East Valley title.