Cruz Taylor showed off his speed, efficiency and even his good hands Friday night to lead Skyline High School to a 49-14 victory over Thunder Ridge.
The Grizzlies senior quarterback took two of his three first-half carries for touchdowns, completed 14 straight passes at one point and caught a 33-yard pass for good measure as the 4A Grizzlies ran to a nonconference win over the 5A Titans at Ravsten Stadium.
Taylor was the model of efficiency. He ran for 140 yards, including TD runs of 47 and 64 yards, on just five carries. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 246 yards and a 4-yard TD pass to Connor Maloney. And he even snuck out of the backfield to catch a 33-yard pass from Cade Marlow.
It was too much for Thunder Ridge (1-1) to match.
Both teams moved the ball up and down the field, but only the Grizzlies (1-1) found the end zone in the first half.
Taylor had just three runs in the first half, but he made the most of his touches. The 5-foot-7, 160-pound senior was just too fast for the Thunder Ridge defense on both of his TD runs, the first from 47 yards and the second from 64. On both plays he faked a handoff, burst up the middle and outran defenders to the end zone. He finished the half with 114 yards rushing and completed his last nine passes of the first half.
The Grizzlies’ defense was also solid, pressuring Johnson throughout, eliminating the Titans running game and intercepting two passes.
The Titans, who earned their first win in program history last week, had plenty of success moving the ball in the middle of the field. Sophomore quarterback Tao Johnson was busy, completing 12 of 24 passes for 118 yards. He also rushed for 38 yards. Thunder Ridge put together a 16-play drive that bridged the first and second quarters, but it ended on downs at the Skyline 4. Another long Titans’ drive of 11 plays ended with an interception by Greyson Benson at the Grizzlies’ 19.
Thunder Ridge’s first score of the game was a beauty, a 67-yard pass from Johnson to Kaysen Isom late in the third quarter.