By Jim Laise -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Fauquier County avenged last year's 20-9 defeat to home-standing Skyline Friday night, vanquishing the Hawks 30-12.
In some ways, the visiting Falcons avenged a narrow 14-6 loss at the hands of Loudoun County a week ago, when they drove to the Raiders' 27 and 19 without coming up with a score. Steady kicker Douglas Helkowski missed a 51 yarder, which hit the right post midway up the pole, in that scrap.
There was none of that against the Hawks, who finished 10-2 last season. Their record fell to 1-1.
Not only did Helkowski, whose kickoffs and punts bottled up the home-standers all night, knock down a 22-yard field goal to close the first half, the Falcons (1-1) scored on four of their first five possessions in the first half. During that stint, they allowed the Hawks only two jaunts onto the plus side of the field. One of those sorties was the result of an interception by Hawk Hunter Partlowe.
"You really have to hand it to their defense," said Skyline coach Heath Gilbert. "Their box players looked great. That 15 (two-way player Louis Heisler) does a great job at middle linebacker. He's a junior, so we'll see him again."
Skyline had better luck in its opener, overcoming cross-town rival Warren County 14-12 when a Wildcat field goal attempt missed its mark with 1:28 to go. In that game, the Hawks scored twice in the final 11 minutes for the victory.
There was no such luck for the home team this night. Playing without quarterback Corban Ruch, who suffered a bruised sternum against the Wildcats and failed to dress, and fullback-linebacker Gerren Butler, who turned an ankle early in the first half, the Hawks were hamstrung on offense.
"Well, those injuries don't help, obviously, but you have to play with what you got, and that's what we did," said Gilbert.
QB-running back Jerrius Baltimore went the majority of the game at signal caller for the second straight week, doing his best to move the offense. The junior carried 22 times for 103 yards and one TD. He also completed 7 of 14 passes for 95 yards and a score. The effort was not enough, though.
"Jerrius did a great job at quarterback for a running back. He's gifted," Gilbert said.
The issue for the home team was that Fauquier had more than one offensive player making plays.
Heisler, the QB-middle linebacker, completed 9 of 20 passes with one interception and one TD. He was good for 120 yards.
Running back Briar Thomas carried eight times for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Todd Jordan carried nine times for 87 yards and a score.
Skyline started the game optimistically while Butler was still healthy. The Hawks pushed the ball to the Fauquier 33, but needing 10 yards for a first down, they got just seven and turned the ball back to the winners.
Fauquier scored on three straight possessions as Skyline was stymied on offense.
Jordan scored from the four to draw first blood with Helkowski's kick good and a 7-0 lead with 2:01 showing in the first quarter. The big play on the 73-yard drive was a 34-yard run over left tackle by Thomas.
Running back Spicer Sabruno was next in line for the Falcons. He bowled over from eight yards out with Helkowski missing the extra point at 11:16 of the first half. The score was 13-0.
On Skyline's next series, Butler went down on a first down rush and had to be helped from the field. His right ankle was packed with ice at halftime.
On the third straight possession came a third consecutive score by the visitors. They took the ball from their own 35 and with Jordan and Thomas pressing the Skyline defensive front, pushed it to the Hawk 15. From there Heisler rolled the pocket and found Marcus Campbell in the left corner end zone for the touchdown at the 8:17 mark. Helkowski was good to make it a 20-0 contest.
On their fifth possession of the half, the Hawks finally got on the board. Partlowe, a defensive back, made his pick at the Falcon 44. Baltimore ran or threw for six straight plays. His sixth touch resulted in a 20-yard touchdown dash. The extra point missed and it was 20-6 with 3:24 showing.
Helkowski's only field goal of the night brought the first half to a close. The score read 23-6.
Fauquier punted for the first time on its next possession, but rectified itself the next time it had the ball.
Chukwudi Okeke's 37-yard punt return put the ball at the Hawk 23. Heisler found Jordan on a 10-yard pass to get the ball to the 13. On the next play Thomas barreled over from the 13. Helkowski was good for a 30-6 score with 2:43 showing in the third quarter.
On Skyline's next possession Baltimore found Marcus Turner for 20 yards to the 30. Then Baltimore pitched the ball 30 yards to Jamal Parker for the touchdown. The extra point failed. It was 30-12 with 1:39 left in the third.
Skyline eclipsed most of the fourth quarter on a 90-yard drive that started from the Hawk five. Three Fauquier penalties worth 45 yards enabled Skyline to the opposition five, but miscues by Skyline stalled the drive. Finally a fumble recovered by Falcon Thomas iced it.