Skyline Schools celebrated 2023 fall homecoming with traditional ceremony on Friday, September 8, and capped off a memorable day with a convincing win on the home football field over Stafford, 46-0. A run rule was enacted and the game ended early, shortly after homecoming recognition at half-time.
At the beginning of the home game in Pratt, as homecoming queen Kealy Hammond, king Cohan Flanders and many Skyline supporters looked on Friday night, the Thunderbirds came bursting out of the locker room determined to defend their home field and take care of business.
The experience-led T-Birds put on a gridiron exhibition and won the first home game of the season. They steamrolled through the first quarter, putting 24 points up on the board, and held the Trojans scoreless while putting up more of their own points up every quarter.
The Stafford roster showed some youth stepping into new roles after the Trojans lost several leaders to graduation last year. Skyline, however, had seven players with experience and the ability to play iron-man football (that is playing both offense and defense). Seniors Brayden Berens (12), Justus Novotny (12) led the way, with Griffin Wallace (12), Jake Hittle (11), Isaac House (10), Payton Becker (10) and Preston Stevenson (10) adding confidence and support.
At the end of the game, Skyline and Stafford players gathered in a large circle, shoulder to should, to share together in prayer and encouragement.
The prayer circle, the idea of Berens (Skyline) and Samuel Lowther from Stafford, helped all players focus on what was really important from the night of competition.
“We talked and decided it would be a great opportunity to praise God,” Berens said. “Sam talked about three Fs: Faith, Family, and Football, in that order. We understand that football is something God gave us to enjoy and use to spread the word. Praising God is the most important thing in our lives and should be for all believers.”
Skyline Principal Diane House said the homecoming night and football win was great for her school, but what happened afterward between the two opponents made a lasting impression.
“This moment was a win for both communities,” House said. “[It makes me] proud to be a T-BIRD and proud to serve in small schools.”
Skyline will continue their season against Attica/Argonia on Friday, September 15 with a 7 p.m. home kickoff.