Even though Huntington North had a new coach on the sideline and Homestead had a new quarterback in the huddle, the same, familiar result – at least in recent times – occurred for both in the season opener Friday at Homestead.
Since losing to Huntington North in 2007, Homestead has rolled up six consecutive victories over the Vikings while averaging 53 points – a spot-on number, since the Spartans scored 46 unanswered points in a 53-12 romp.
For Huntington North, the loss spoiled the coaching debut of Trent Fine, who replaced Reif Gilg, who left to become the athletic director at East Noble.
But for Homestead senior quarterback Matt Skowronek, it was a night of stepping out of the lengthy shadow of the graduated, record-setting quarterback, Zach Terrell.
To be sure, Skowronek didn’t put up the pinball numbers of his predecessor, who took his talents to Western Michigan.
The 6-foot-2 backup to Terrell finished with modest numbers (12 for 22, 99 yards, 1 touchdown, no interceptions), but it was his deft handling of the Homestead option attack that impressed Spartans coach Chad Zolman.
“You never know, until you get to this game, how things are going to pan out,” Zolman said. “(Skowronek) did a great job, especially on the option. They were trying to take away the pass, and he did some nice things there. They gave us some option plays, and when he ran it, he ran it well. He brought the defense to him and pitched it to get our kids in space.”
He also got the kids into the end zone.
With Skowronek doing more pitching than throwing, senior running back Grayson Bastin (92 yards on 15 carries) scored three touchdowns on bursts of 9, 7 and 1 yards. Conner Houser had a 30-yard touchdown run on the right edge off a pitch from Skowronek, while Seth Coate caught a touchdown pass of three yards from Skowronek, but also threw a 37-yard scoring pass to fellow receiver Isaac Griffith.
“Our quarterbacks coach (Bill Skelton) gives us three words: ‘Do your job,’ ” Skowronek said. “All I have to do is get the ball to the playmakers – Isaac, Seth, Grayson, Frank (Martin) and Houser. They all made plays tonight.”
While the offense did its thing again, step aside for the Homestead defense to take a bow.
Zipped twice in the first quarter on a pair of long passes from Huntington North quarterback Drew Schnitz, the Spartans changed their ways; and in doing so, changed the complexion of the game.
From the time it fell behind 12-7 to halftime, the Homestead defense limited Huntington North to seven yards in 11 plays. Meanwhile, Bastin scored from the 9, then 7, and in between, Coate caught Skowronski’s first touchdown pass as a starting quarterback.