By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Skyline used a dominating performance by its offense in the second half to defeat host James Wood, 39-19, in the first Northwestern District game of the season for both teams on Friday night.
Skyline held a 14-7 lead over the Colonels to open the third quarter, and scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the second half to blow the game open. The Hawks (4-0, 1-0 Northwestern) ran the ball at will over the final two quarters and finished the game with 356 yards on the ground.
"We just came out and we played hard. We had some adversity in the first half, but the second half we came out and we executed," said Hawks senior running back Dayvon Haight, who led the Skyline attack with 150 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. "The offensive line is our workhorse. We knew we could run the lead and the trap all day, so the coaches ran the ball more in the second half."
Skyline's first drive of the third quarter set the tone for the second half as the Hawks took just five plays -- all runs -- to march 65 yards for the score.
Haight took two straight handoffs up the middle for gains of nine and 15 yards to put Skyline into James Wood territory, and Jerrius Baltimore added a 9-yard run down to the Colonels' 32-yard line.
Senior Chris Grady, a 235-pound fullback, rumbled for 10 yards on the drive's fourth play, and setting up a 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback Aaron Jeremiah in which he faked a feed to Grady before scampering untouched into the end zone.
"Chris Grady, I think, did a good job for us setting the tone with running the trap and the veer inside and forcing [the defense] to honor him," Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. "When [Jeremiah] pulled it on that touchdown, they were all sucked in -- three guys tackled Grady."
James Wood (1-4, 0-1) put together a promising drive on its ensuing possession as it marched down to the Hawks' 19-yard line, but a sack by Skyline's Brenden O'Conner on a fourth-down play handed the ball back to Skyline.
The Hawks answered with a nine-play, 68-yard drive capped by a 19-yard pass from Jeremiah (7 of 11, 67 yards, two touchdowns) to tight end Nick Helmick with 2:01 left in the third quarter to put Skyline up 26-7.
Jeremiah threw his second touchdown of the night on the Hawks' next drive when he connected with Kylmen Breeden on a 6-yard score to increase the lead to 32-7 with 8:16 to play.
Both passing scores were set up by the Hawks' ability to control the line of scrimmage with the running game.
"They just ran it right down the middle of the field on us and we just couldn't stop them," said Colonels coach Mike Bolin. "Losing [defensive lineman] Erik Bearer [late in the first half to injury] really hurt. He's our big presence in the middle of field."
The Colonels added a touchdown with 5:32 to play when quarterback Camden Butler (14 for 29, 209 yards, one touchdown) found Dakota Orndorff with a 24-yard strike.
Skyline found itself in the end zone just four seconds later as Hawks senior Hunter Stewart scooped up the ensuing onside kick and raced 44 yards untouched for the score.
A 13-yard run by James Wood's Dallas Corbin made the score 39-19 in favor of the Hawks with 4:10 to play. Corbin had a solid day for the Colonels before James Wood had to stick to the passing game in an attempt to make a comeback. The senior finished with 88 yards on 19 carries and a score.
Skyline opened the scoring on Friday with a 9-yard touchdown run by Haight with 3:41 left in the first quarter. The Hawks took a 14-0 lead when Breeden took a direct snap and ran 65 yards to the end zone untouched with 5:26 left before halftime.
James Wood scored its first touchdown of the night with 2:38 left in the first half on a 5-yard run by Joey Eubank.
Skyline missed some opportunities for more points in the first half, including a penalty that brought the what would have been a 72-yard interception return to the Colonels' 10-yard line by Hawks senior Marquis Lewis back to the James Wood 31. Skyline lost a fumble four plays later.
"We were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot," Gilbert said. "I'm really proud of our kids for stepping up, coming out in the second half and taking control of the line of scrimmage and running it right down the field."