Skyview football coach David Young mostly agreed with the comparison when one name was brought up in reference to Atonio Fifita.
Like former Skyview player Tyler Crowe, Fifita is a dominating force at both the running back and linebacker position for the Hawks. Like Crowe, who walked on to Boise State before earning a scholarship from the Broncos earlier this week, Fifita is also lacking in the recruiting offers midway through his senior year. And like Crowe, Young believes that whatever college team eventually lands him will be getting a steal.
“That is a pretty good comparison,” Young said. “Some of the differences are Tyler Crowe was a little more powerful and Atonio is a little bit more explosive. I’m not trying to take away from either kid, because they are close. But that is a good comparison, he would be this senior class’s version of Tyler Crowe.”
Fifita and the Hawks have jumped out to a 4-0 record for the first time since 2017, Crowe’s junior season, when Skyview won its first 10 games. Skyview (4-0, 1-0 5A Southern Idaho Conference Foothills Division) will put its perfect record on the line tonight when it hosts defending 5A state champion Rocky Mountain (3-1, 1-0).
“It’s amazing right now, it’s fun,” Fifita said about this season. “But our competition is starting to kick up. This is where we can prove who we really are, this game and the next few.”
Skyview will certainly have its hands full the rest of the season. After tonight’s game, the Hawks will close out the regular season with games against Meridian, Eagle and Timberline, all 2020 playoff teams.
But with Fifita, who has run for 451 and five touchdowns this season and recorded five sacks and two turnovers, including a pick-6 three weeks ago against Nampa, the Hawks have every reason to believe he can help carry them to victory.
He’s already done that several times.
“I think he definitely gives us a chance,” said Young. “We can use him on both sides of the ball, and in a lot of ways he’s the heartbeat of our team. There are many times at the end of the game he just looks like a pile of hamburgers, he’s so beat up. There are times where we’ve got to run the ball and control the clock. He’ll run with all his heart and emotion and linemen are picking him up and he just looks almost limp. And yet he goes again. And then he goes again. Our kids just feed off that and they love it. He’ll put his whole heart out there and because he does that, other people will do the same thing for him.”
For Fifita, having to dig that deep comes from a selfless attitude of wanting to put the team’s needs above his. He knows he has the weekend to relax and recover after a big game, so he doesn’t mind doing the dirty work to push his team across the finish line.
“After every run, I’ll be laying on the sidelines dead,” Fifita said. “But the day after I’ll feel pretty good. I’ll be all sore and banged up, but in the end, I’ll be fine and I’m willing to do it again, no matter what.”
Even if Young wanted to take Fifita off the field, that would prove to be a difficult task to accomplish. His dedication to the game has him out on the field on most plays. Once in a while, he admits, he does get gassed and has to go to the sideline to grab some water.
But just a play or two later, he’s ready to get back in there.
“I have my teammates just telling me ‘push yourself, keep going, we need you,’” said Fifita. “That just gives me so much energy. I don’t do it for myself, I do it for everyone that’s watching. I do it for my team, do it for the fans. I don’t like to focus on myself.”