Skyline topples Handley, 31-17
WINCHESTER – When Skyline High School head football coach Heath Gilbert informed his team that star running back Brad Halsey was no longer a part of the Hawks’ roster, he saw no dejection from his squad.
“They have been through it before,” said the Skyline coach.
The Hawks, who put away Handley on Saturday 31-17, had already seen last year’s starting quarterback exit before the season started. Then the coach said the team lost its best running back, who transferred to a school in Florida.
“That’s what makes this victory so satisfying. To win here, in the Handley Bowl, is something for our program,” Gilbert said on the overcast afternoon.
Quarterback Corban Ruch, the Conference 28 offensive player of the year in 2014, moved on to Randolph-Macon Academy in the offseason and the back who moved away likely would have been Skyline’s starter, “but this team took it upon themselves to step up and play (without Halsey),” Gilbert said.
The program learned Friday that Halsey had committed a team-mandated “rules violation,” and no longer would play for the group that won its second straight Northwestern District victory to even its record at 4-4 overall, 2-1 in the league.
It had been Halsey who had rushed for 533 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s first seven games, and whose touchdown set up a 2-point conversion over a week ago to pull out a 29-28 overtime victory over James Wood. He rushed for three scores against the Colonels.
But against winless Handley (0-8, 0-2), Gilbert took the wrapping off stand-in tailback Quentin Diggs (15 carries, 61 yards and 1 touchdown) and a passing game that featured senior signal-caller Dylan Hamman throwing three touchdown passes
Hamman completed 14-of-27 passes with an interception for 184 yards.
Combined with a ground game that covered 93 yards, the Hawks totaled 277 total yards of offense. Compare that to Handley, which rushed 23 times for 45 yards and a score. Sophomore Judges quarterback Jacob Parker completed 11-of-18 passes for one touchdown and a lone interception. His throws went for 147 yards. Handley totaled 192 yards offensively.
“With us, it’s kind of ‘pick your poison,’ we try to show a balance of offense,” Gilbert said.
Jay Roy was on the receiving end of four of those balls, which he hauled in for 99 yards and a 6-pointer off a 69 yard catch-and-run. Teammate Aaron Tasker had five catches for 49 yards, including a 16-yard scoring catch.
“Jay’s another senior who has really stepped up for us in a leadership role,” said his coach.
The Judges were coming off a 51-0 dismantling at the hands of state power and Northwestern District foe Sherando over a week ago; however, playing before a home crowd, the Judges assumed the first lead.
Cameron Davenport carried over from the 2 yard line and Judges kicker Aidan Marshall was true on the extra point for the home team’s 7-0 lead with 6:25 showing in the first quarter.
The score came as a result of Handley quarterback Parker’s 29-yard pass to Dolan Delaney to set the table.
But the 7-0 lead would be one of two Skyline would catch and conquer. The Hawks also broke a tie.
The visitors recovered a Handley fumble at the Judges’ 2. A pair of plays later, Diggs carried over from the one for his team’s first score. Kicker A.J. Dueweke tied the game at 7 with his point-after kick as the first-quarter clock ran out.
Marshall gave the Judges’ their second advantage at 10-7, when his 28-yard field goal went through with 6:37 remaining in the half.
Skyline came back again with a nine-play 70-yard drive that ended with a Hamman pitch to Aaron Tasker for the 16-yard score. Dueweke was true and the game was tied with 3:24 left in the half. The score was 14-10.
On the next series, the Judges’ Davenport scurried to the Skyline five, but the play was recalled due to a penalty by Handley.
At the tail-end of the drive, Roy stepped in front of a Parker pass for the interception.
The Hawks were unable to turn the Roy theft into points, but they came out in the second half to let Dueweke’s 37-yard field goal culminate a drive 11 plays to accomplish.
Skyline had overtaken Handley 17-10 with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter.
Even though the Hawks were playing well defensively, the team of Parker-to-Marcus Takticos combined for a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown for the Judges. Marshall’s kick tied it up again with 1:47 showing in the quarter.
Skyline took over the fourth quarter. When it retrieved the ball, Hamman found Roy with a 21-yard pass to get the ball to the 15. After a couple of Hamman keepers and a 5-yard penalty on Handley, Gilbert made a gutsy call.
On fourth-and-inches, Hamman laid the ball into the hands of Brandon Wells for the score. Dueweke made it 24-17.
The Hawks’ last score of the day came with 9:41 left in the game. On third-and-13, Hamman’s 69-yard pass-and-run combination with Roy put the visitors ahead for good. Dueweke was true.
This was a game of punting and penalties. The Hawks averaged 40 yards on three boots. Handley punted eight times for almost 34 yards per kick.
The Judges committed 13 infractions for 110 yards; the Hawks came in with 10 flags for 55 yards.
Hawks 31, Judges 17
Skyline 7 7 3 14–31
Handley 7 3 7 0–17
H: Davenport 2 run (kick good), 6:25
S: Diggs 1 run (kick good), 00.0
H: Marshall 28 field goal, 6:37
S: Tasker 16 pass from Hamman, (kick good) 3:24
S: Dueweke 37 field goal, 8:39
H: Takticos 75 pass from Parker, (kick good), 1:47
S: Wells 1 pass from Hamman, (kick good), 11:56
S: Roy 69 pass from Hamman, (kick good), 3:24
Skyline High School
First downs 10 7
Rushes-yds. 25-93 23-45
Passing yds. 184 147
Compl.-Att-TD-INT 14-27-1-3 11-18-1-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Punts-avg. 3-40 12-34
Pens.-yds. 10-55 13-110
RUSHING: Skyline, Diggs 15-61, Hamman 8-23, Tasker 2-4, Roy 1-5; Handley, Parker 9-17, Davenport 14-28, Gaynor 4-14, Anthony Smith 1-5
PASSING: Skyline 14-27-1-1, 184; Handley, Parker 11-18-1-1 147
RECEIVING: Skyline, Wells 3-30, Roy 4-99, Tasker 5-49