Hawks win overtime thriller

Skyline High School coach Heath Gilbert gathers his players together after a timeout in their game on Oct. 16 against James Wood. The Hawks host Culpeper tonight in a first-round playoff game. Rich Cooley/Daily file

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline coach Heath Gilbert didn’t hesitate.

With the game on the line, Gilbert decided to go for a game-winning 2-point conversion even with a sophomore back-up quarterback in the game. Skyline executed the play to pull out a thrilling 29-28 overtime victory over James Wood on homecoming night.

“I couldn’t be any happier for the kids,” Gilbert said. “…I told the kids they deserved to win their homecoming, and just go out there and compete their hearts out and they did.”

Gilbert said he decided to go for the 2-point conversion at the start of overtime and knew what play they would call. Skyline quarterback Ryan Scott threw a pass to wide receiver Aaron Tasker, who stretched out over the pylon for the game-winning points.

“That was risky,” Scott said. “I’m glad we scored.”

Skyline's Brad Hasley tries to ward off James Wood's Keegan DeHaven during third quarter action Friday night in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

James Wood got the ball first in overtime and scored on the second play with a 4-yard run by Ryan Funkhouser for a 28-21 lead.

The Hawks came right back. On third down from the 2-yard line, Skyline sophomore Brad Halsey scored to pull the Hawks within one and set-up the game-winning two-point conversion.

“We had a lot of confidence, we’ve been practicing that play since the first day of camp,” Gilbert said of the two-point conversion. “We knew that’s what we were going to do. The kids went out there and executed even with Ryan being the backup quarterback. He’s been doing it since the first day of camp too.”

Scott came into the game in the third quarter, after Skyline senior quarterback Dylan Hamman suffered an injury with the Hawks leading 14-7.

The Colonels tied the game at 14 late in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Keegan DeHaven, who replaced injured starting running back Tyler Bishop.

Skyline quarterback Dylan Hamman was injured when he went down on this play in the third quarter on a tackle by James Wood's Isaac Schrantz. Rich Cooley/Daily

James Wood used its passing game to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Colonels went 80 yards on seven plays, capping things off with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Dade Carroll to Dillon Manuel with 9:09 left in the game.

Skyline came right back. The Hawks went 59 yards on seven plays. Halsey, who had his best runs in the fourth quarter, scored on a 15-yard run with 5:37 left in the game.

“As I got the ball, I didn’t really see anything,” Halsey said. “I just knew that my team was counting on me. So I kind of just put my head down, and ran as hard as I could and didn’t give up, kept moving my feet.”

Things didn’t start out the way Sklyline hoped. A fumble on the opening kickoff gave was recovered by the Colonels at the Skyline 16-yard line. Two plays later, Bishop scored form 10 yards out to give the Colonels a 7-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game.

A James Wood interception halted Skyline’s next drive, but the Hawks’ defense stepped up on the ensuing drive.

James Wood's Cody Polk was flagged for a face mask penalty after a tackle on Skyline's Jay Roy during Friday's game in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We had some missed plays, but we just kept fighting,” Halsey said. “We didn’t let it get us down. Not everything is always going to go your way, you just got to keep fighting.

Skyline put together an impressive drive on its next possession. The Hawks went 67 yards on 13 plays.

Hamman capped off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run with 10:56 left in the first half.

The Hawks took the lead in the second quarter on a seven-play 58-yard drive. Halsey scored on a seven-yard run to give Skyline a 14-7 lead with 2:56 left in the first half.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

Hawks 29, Colonels 28
James Wood 7 0 7 7 7–28
Skyline 0 14 0 7 8–29
First quarter
JW: Bishop 10 run (Burner kick), 11:37
Second quarter
S: Hamman 20 run (Dueweke kick), 10:56
S: Halsey 7 run (Dueweke kick), 2:56
Third quarter
JW: DeHaven 1 run (Burner kick), 1:57
Fourth quarter
JW: Manuel 37 pass from Carroll (Burner kick), 9:09
S: Halsey 15 run (Dueweke kick), 5:37
JW: Funkhouser 4 run (Burner kick)
S: Halsey 2 run (Tasker pass from Scott)
First downs 9 19
Rushes-yards 34-122 40-144
Passing yards 125 166
Passing 7-11-1-0 15-24-0-2
Penalties-yards 10-70 4-30
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-1
Punts-avg. 4-36.5 5-28.5
RUSHING: James Wood Bishop 5-65, Brewer 4-6, Carroll 8-(minus 28), DeHaven 10-23, Funkhouser 7-56. Skyline Halsey 22-74, Diggs 3-3, Hamman 7-33, Scott 8-34.
PASSING: James Wood Carroll 7-11-125-1-0. Skyline Hamman 12-18-154-0-2, Scott 3-6-12-0-0.
RECEIVING: James Wood Manuel 5-88, DeHaven 2-37. Skyline Wells 2-35, Roy 3-37, Abel 2-34, Swain 2-11, Halsey 6-49.

Skyline's Antwan Swain hauls in a pass while James Wood's David Funk and Ryan Funkhouser tackle him during their game on Oct. 16 in Front Royal. The Hawks host Warren County on Friday. Rich Cooley/Daily file

Skyline backup quarterback Ryan Scott gets tackled by James Wood's Asa Brewer after he recovers his own fumble during third quarter action in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily