Hawks stumble in blowout loss to Pioneers

WINCHESTER – Skyline’s Northwestern District opener was a rough one all the way around for the Hawks on Friday night at Millbrook.

The Hawks came up empty on a pair of key scoring opportunities in the first half, while Millbrook piled up 453 total yards of offense – including 345 yards rushing – in a 59-14 rout that dropped Skyline to 2-4 overall.

“It was tough,” said Hawks coach Heath Gilbert, whose team was also penalized nine times for 84 yards. “We’d actually had our best week of practice this season and it’d been great for the kids to be rewarded with a victory.”

Skyline’s first drive appropriately set the tone for the Hawks’ night, as they committed four penalties, including three false starts. Skyline’s drive was extended by a roughing the punter penalty on the Pioneers (4-2, 1-0) that wiped off a 68-yard return touchdown by Nicholis Harrell, but the Hawks couldn’t capitalize and turned it over on downs at the Millbrook 25.

On its second possession, Skyline took over with a short field following a fumble recovery and drove all the way to the Millbrook 4, only to have A.J. Dueweke’s 23-yard field goal attempt blocked and returned 80 yards for a touchdown by Pioneers’ junior Joshua Davis.

Millbrook coach Josh Haymore called Davis’ block and return “big” for the Pioneers.

“I felt we were very flat,” Haymore said, “and I told the coaches over the headset I thought that was the spark that we needed. I think as soon as that happened we were rolling.”

The Pioneers drove 41 yards to the end zone on their next offensive possession, capping the drive on P.K. Kier’s 5-yard scoring run to take a 14-0 lead with 9:10 left in the second quarter.

Skyline put itself in position to answer with a long drive that began at its own 32, but the Hawks turned the ball over on downs at the 5 when Dylan Hamman’s fourth-down pass to Brad Halsey (14 carries, 78 yards) near the goal line was dropped.

“I’ve got to be a better play caller down there and get the guys in the end zone,” Gilbert said.

The Hawks finished the game with 348 total yards, including 161 yards rushing on 43 carries.

Millbrook added a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Nazeeh Johnson late in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead into halftime and extended that advantage on the opening drive of the second half on Matthew Hershberger’s 24-yard field goal before hitting on several big scoring plays.

Johnson, who finished with 104 rushing yards on just eight carries, gave the Pioneers a 31-point lead with a 29-yard scoring run with 4:48 left in the third quarter.

Skyline finally got on the board with a 67-yard drive on its ensuing possession that ended with Hamman’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Burke – who made a nice diving grab in the end zone – but the score was immediately answered by Johnson’s 59-yard touchdown reception.

“The perimeter run, they’re doing a good job with that and we get our eyes lost one time and they run the seam route,” Gilbert said. “I’m sure they sit on that the whole time. Our free safety lost his eyes in the backfield a little bit and he ran right by us.”

Johnson had a big night for Millbrook, as he scored four touchdowns, including a 54-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks cut the deficit to 38-14 with 10:55 to play when Hamman – who completed 14 of 29 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and rushed for 47 yards – found senior Jay Roy (6 catches, 33 yards) for an 18-yard touchdown.

The Pioneers averaged 11.5 yards rushing per carry against Skyline, a number magnified by Savon Smith’s zig-zagging scoring runs of 30 and 58 yards in the fourth quarter. He finished with 148 yards on nine carries, while Kier added 10 rushes for 82 yards.

Paxton completed 3 of 6 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown for Millbrook.

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

Box Score
Pioneers 59, Hawks 14
Skyline 0 0 7 7 – 14
Millbrook 7 14 17 21 – 59

First Quarter
M: Davis 80 field goal block return (Hershberger kick), 0:58.

Second Quarter
M: Kier 5 run (Hershberger kick), 9:10.
M: Johnson 3 run (Hershberger kick), 2:32.

Third Quarter
M: Hershberger 24 field goal, 7:26.
M: Johnson 29 run (Hershberger kick), 4:48.
S: Burke 19 pass from Hamman (Dueweke kick), 1:43.
M: Johnson 59 pass from Paxton (Hershberger kick), 1:36.

Fourth Quarter
S: Roy 18 pass from Hamman (Dueweke kick), 10:55.
M: Smith 30 run (Hershberger kick), 10:11.
M: Johnson 54 interception return (Hershberger kick), 6:33.
M: Smith 58 run (Hershberger kick), 3:02.

First downs 19 11
Rushes-yards 43-161 30-345
Passing yards 187 108
Comp-Att.-TD-Int. 15-34-2-2 3-6-1-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Punts-avg. 2-31.5 0-0
Penalties-yards 9-84 7-65
RUSHING: Skyline, Halsey 14-78, Hamman 13-47, Tasker 1-4, Wells 1-3, Hugo 1-2, Roy 1-4, Diggs 6-17, Scott 4-2, Guizar 2-6; Millbrook, Kier 10-82, Smith 9-148, Johnson 8-104, Paxton 2-12.
PASSING: Skyline, Hamman 14-29-192-2-1, Scott 1-5-(-5)-0-1; Millbrook, Paxton 3-6-108-1-0.
RECEIVING: Skyline, Roy 6-33, Wells 1-24, Halsey 2-21, Swain 1-29, Tasker 2-31, Burke 3-36; Millbrook, Smith 1-41, Johnson 2-67.