By Stephen Boyle - email@example.com
FRONT ROYAL -- Every time the Skyline High School football team scores a touchdown the school's cheerleaders do as many push-ups as the Hawks have points. By the end of Friday night the Skyline cheerleading squad had done 140 push-ups. The Hawks shut out Brentsville 39-0.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. "It's a great team win, because everyone got to play."
Gilbert's squad scored all of their 39 points in the first half before they starting prioritizing getting everyone into the game over first downs. Skyline was able to pick up yardage in huge chunks throughout the first half. On their first drive, running back Dayvon Haight found the end zone on a 28-yard scamper to give the Hawks an early 7-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, fullback Chris Grady took a trap up the middle and ran 51 yards to the Brentsville 3-yard line. The senior, who has been starting both ways for Skyline since he was a sophomore, said it was the longest run of his career by about 40 yards.
"It felt great. It was the first time I'd had that experience," he said. "I've lifted so hard, finally it paid off."
Grady took a direct snap and punched the ball in on the next play to put Skyline up 14-0.
In the second quarter the Hawks showed their team is full of playmakers. This time it was Kylem Breeden breaking a long run, for 36 yards and a touchdown. A bad snap caused a missed two-point conversion on the point-after attempt, so Skyline took a 20-0 lead.
"They're a real solid ball club," Brentsville Coach Tommy O'Neill said of the Hawks. "They've got a few kids that can break one at any point."
Skyline's next touchdown came through the air. A 34-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Jeremiah to tight end Nick Helmick made the score 27-0. Then Brentsville's David Boyle threw an interception to Marcus Turner. Turner took the pick 43-yards for another score to make it 33-0.
A 13-yard bootleg by Jeremiah would finish off the scoring and the push-ups.
Gilbert said one of the big reasons why the game was such a positive for the Hawks was because everyone on the bench saw some action in the second half which was part of Skyline's gameplan going into the game. The decision also showed good sportsmanship.
"Those kids over there, they work hard just like our kids," Gilbert said of Brentsville.
The Tigers fall to 0-4 on the season and O'Neill thinks his team's main problem is a mental block due to a couple of sub-par seasons in a row.
"They've got to believe that they belong there and once they start believing good things will happen," he said.
Skyline already believes they belong in the talk for top football school in the area. Grady said two years ago the team thought they would be really good and overconfidence caused a 2-8 record. This year Grady and Gilbert agree that the "vibe" is different.
"We can be as good as the best teams in our area," Gilbert said.
And his kids believe it.