Hamman’s late score gives Skyline victory

WOODSTOCK – Skyline’s football team showed its resiliency on Friday night.

Playing their season opener on the road at Central, the Hawks found themselves down 14 points in the first half and 13 points in the second half. Both times Skyline responded.

With the ball at the Central 17-yard line and less than a minute remaining in the game, Hawks senior quarterback Dylan Hamman took a keeper up into the middle of the Falcons’ defense. At the 10-yard line, Hamman spun to his left away from a defender. Seeing nothing but green to his left, the senior scampered into the end zone for the game-tying score with 47 seconds remaining. The ensuing extra point by A.J. Dueweke put the Hawks ahead for an eventual 28-27 victory to jumpstart their 2015 campaign.

“I ran through the hole, it was wide open and I saw a safety coming so just put a spin move on him,” Hamman said with a laugh. “Then I saw open field and just took it.”

Hamman’s heroics capped a 73-yard scoring drive for Skyline (1-0) that needed less than three minutes to complete, but it wasn’t the only big play the quarterback made on the drive. Hamman also converted a fourth-and-4 pass to tight end Ryan Abel (6 catches, 87 yards) that went for 26 yards to the Falcons’ 17 to set up the tying score.

Hamman, making his first varsity start, completed 19 of 24 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his scoring run.

Skyline’s offense as a unit racked up 348 yards and, most importantly, rallied from two-score deficits twice in the game.

“Hats off to Central,” Hawks coach Heath Gilbert said. “They were on their man tonight and they gave us a heckuva battle. I’m really proud of our kids to keep fighting. Guys stepped up and made plays. We’re really happy and excited for our team.”

Central, like it did in the first half, opened the second half by building a two-touchdown advantage.

The Falcons marched 69 yards for a score on the opening drive of the third quarter, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by senior Trey Riley that gave Central (0-1) a 21-14 lead.

Central padded its lead on its next drive with another score while relying almost exclusively on a rushing attack led by senior Hank Hoover. The Falcons methodically marched down the field before using a trick play to find the end zone for the second time in the half, as Hoover took a toss to the left – causing the entire Skyline defense to bite – before finding a wide-open T.J. Sloan for a 33-yard score with 8:27 to play.

A missed extra-point following the score kept the Falcons’ lead at 27-14.

Central ended the night with 211 rushing yards, including 139 yards and a rushing touchdown from Hoover, who carried the ball 30 times.

“We did absolutely what we wanted to do,” Falcons head coach Mike Yew said of Central’s run-heavy offense. “And you take three plays out of that game and it’s a whole different story.”

Skyline immediately answered on its next possession with a quick 58-yard scoring drive that needed only seven plays. Junior Brad Halsey capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 6:40 to play.

Halsey, making his Skyline debut after transferring from Westfield High, redeemed a lost fumble on his second carry of the game by rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown and snagging a 31-yard touchdown catch that tied the game at 14-all with 23 seconds left in the first half.

“You’ve just got to keep your head, when one thing happens just let it go,” Halsey said. “It’s just going to slow you down.”

Central jumped on the board first as Brandon Braithwaite returned a punt 56 yards for a score after the Falcons’ defense forced a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession.

A two-yard scoring run by Hoover gave Central a 14-0 lead in the second quarter before Skyline responded with its first touchdown of the night, a 5-yard pass to Aaron Tasker, who made a nice grab in the back corner of the end zone.

Skyline’s offense received a jolt in the second quarter when it used its “WildHawk” formation – with Halsey and Tasker taking direct snaps – for the majority of its first scoring drive.

“We really didn’t want to use it until the second half … but we felt like we needed kind of a kick-start,” Gilbert said. “… That was very effective, something they weren’t ready for.”

Though Central’s defense forced two turnovers – a fumble recovery by Sloan and an interception by Carston Shockey – and four sacks, including three by Matt Edwards, Yew said the Falcons played with too much individuality at times. The Falcons also committed 10 penalties, including one that wiped off a touchdown and another that extended a Skyline drive.

Central was also without four starters in the game, who didn’t dress for reasons Yew declined to discuss.

“It came down to big plays that we didn’t make,” Yew said. “And individual plays in which our kids chose to do whatever they wanted to do. And on about four plays that was truly the difference in the game, that we just … made mistakes that should have been prevented and should not have happened. We just chose to do whatever we wanted to do.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

Box score

Hawks 28, Falcons 27
Skyline 0 14 0 14 – 28
Central 7 7 7 6 – 27
First Quarter
C: Braithwaite 56 punt return (Croom kick), 9:48.
Second Quarter
C: Hoover 2 run (Croom kick), 11:55.
S: Tasker 5 pass from Hamman (Dueweke kick), 7:03.
S: Halsey 31 pass from Hamman (Dueweke kick), 0:23.
Third Quarter
C: Riley 6 run (Croom kick), 6:31.
Fourth Quarter
C: Sloan 33 pass from Hoover (kick failed), 8:27.
S: Halsey 11 run (Dueweke kick), 6:40.
S: Hamman 17 run (Dueweke kick), 0:47.
First downs 14 11
Rushes-yards 38-141 52-211
Passing yards 199 55
Passing 19-24-2-1 4-11-1-1
Punts-avg. 2-30.5 3-28.6
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-30 10-82
RUSHING: Skyline, Halsey 21-112, Hamman 8-(-2), Tasker 2-12, J. Roy 5-27; Central, Hoover 30-139, Hosaflook 6-9, Riley 8-34, Bokanyi 1-5, Sloan 1-26, Shockey 1-2.
PASSING: Skyline, Hamman 19-24-199-2-1; Central, Hosaflook 3-10-22-0-1, Hoover 1-1-33-1-0.
RECEIVING: Skyline, J. Roy 5-18, Abel 6-87, Tasker 5-49, Wells 2-14, Halsey 1-31; Central, Braithwaite 1-9, Charity 1-4, Sloan 1-33, Hoover 1-9.