Jones notches hat trick as Hawks rally from 3-goal deficit to beat Wildcats

FRONT ROYAL – With Skyline High School’s boys soccer team trailing crosstown rival Warren County by three goals at the end of the first half on Wednesday evening, the Hawks’ coaching staff let junior captain Logan Porterfield handle most of the halftime speech.

Skyline junior forward Brody Jones didn’t delve into the specifics of his teammate’s message after the match, offering only, with a laugh, that Porterfield “said a lot of stuff.” Whatever Porterfield said, it worked.

Sparked by that halftime speech and fueled by Jones’ hat trick, Skyline erased the first-half deficit with three goals in the second half and won the match, 4-3, on Jones’ third goal of the night, in overtime, on the road to secure the Hawks’ first regular-season sweep of Warren County in the program’s history.

“He was furious at halftime, yelling at us. Just getting us pumped, man,” Jones said of Porterfield. “We came out, that was the best half of soccer we’ve ever played, man. That was great.”

Skyline (6-8) needed little time at all – 90 seconds, to be exact – to get on the board in the second half after being shut out over the match’s first 40 minutes. In a mirror image of the game-winning score that would come later in overtime, Hawks senior Matias Lozano hit the fleet-footed Jones with a pass through the defense that ended with Jones’ goal on an open shot against Wildcats keeper Michael Moore.

“That changed everything, man. That’s exactly what we needed,” Jones said. “We said it at halftime, if we don’t get a goal in the first 15 minutes then we’re not gonna win. But we came out and we did it, and we won.”

The Hawks struck again 14 minutes later when junior Ryan Scott scored on a header off Porterfield’s corner kick to cut Warren County’s lead to 3-2 with 24 minutes to play. A Scott cross pass that soared into the middle of the penalty box set up Jones’ game-tying goal with 17 minutes to play.

Skyline, which was outshot by Warren County 7-4 in the first half, ended the night with a 15-14 edge in shots.

Hawks head coach Steve Carey, who said his team’s six wins this season are “unofficially” the most in program history, noted that the difference in halves for Skyline came down to “just getting our heads back in the game.”

“We got down on ourselves and I think Logan’s talk really just let them shake the cobwebs and go,” Carey said, “because sometimes it’s better to come from the players than from the coaches. They hear us all the time.

“We started to challenge 50-50s better and work the ball up from the back like we’ve practiced, so it worked out well.”

Late saves by Moore and Skyline goalkeeper Stephen McInturff – who each finished with six saves – on breakaway chances for each team kept the 3-3 tie intact at the end of regulation. Warren County missed a chance for the go-ahead goal in the first 5-minute overtime period when Aidan deVenoge couldn’t get a clean shot right in front of the goal off Stuart Ashley’s throw-in. Instead, he sent a slow roller trickling into the arms of McInturff.

Skyline capitalized on its own chance in stoppage time in the second extra period when Lozano again found Jones on a through ball, setting up a one-on-one chance for the junior to complete his hat trick and give the Hawks their first lead of the night.

“Everyone was just (saying) we’ve gotta get a win. Everyone was counting on me, ‘Brody finish the game, finish the game.’ I try to give everything I have every game,” Jones said.

“They were playing a style of defense where they try to keep us offsides and we knew that if we just stick to their back line, we know that I’m faster than their whole back line. We just know if we have the right ball with the right backspin on it, there’s no stopping me.”

Warren County (2-12) appeared in control early with a dominant first half that featured two goals and an assist from Ashley.

Moore, who moved into the goal for the Wildcats early in the first half after starting keeper Keegan Brade was injured in a collision with Jones, put Warren County on the board with a header off Ashley’s throw-in six minutes into the game.

Ashley gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the 18th minute when he scored on a direct kick from about 25 yards out after the ball redirected off someone in the penalty box. A foul call on a Skyline defender in the box late in the first half set up a penalty kick for Warren County, which Ashley converted to send the Wildcats into intermission with a three-goal lead.

Warren County head coach Shane Lilly was not available for comment after the match.

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