Football Preview 2016: Tasker ready to lead Skyline receiving corps

Aaron Tasker, Skyline's wide receiver, had 35 receptions last year. This year he will be looking to lead the way again for the Hawks' receiving corps. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Aaron Tasker has had plenty of players to learn from over the years, but this season the senior wide receiver will be the one doing the leading.

Tasker is the only starting wide receiver returning, and is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role.

“I’m trying to step up a lot because I’ve got a whole lot of younger guys (around) me. I think I’m one of the only senior receivers out there,” Tasker said. “…I need to be a little bit more of a leader, because I’m one of the oldest guys out there and have a little bit more experience than anybody else.”

Tasker has been one of the team’s top receivers the last two years. As a sophomore he caught 26 passes for 268 yards.

Last year he had 35 receptions for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

He also had plenty of good receivers around him, such as Jamal Parker, Jay Roy and Brandon Wells, and this year could be Tasker’s year to shine even more.

“Jamal Parker, and the Jay Roy’s they’re all out, they’re gone now. It’s him he’s the leader,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “He’s the true veteran of that group now. We’ve got some young guys coming in behind him. So he’s kind of setting that leading example, setting that standard for them to bring along the next core that comes through.”

Tasker could reach 100 receptions in his career. Gilbert said that would make him the first in school history to reach that milestone.

Gilbert said that Tasker is a very smart receiver.

“He’s very intelligent. He’s a savvy player,” Gilbert said. “He understands how to run routes well, and he’s got really good hands.”

Tasker said his favorite player is Odell Beckham Jr., of the New York Giants. Beckham is known for making thrilling one-handed catches, and Tasker said he tries to learn from Beckham and make one-handed catches as well.

Tasker said he loves playing wide receiver because he enjoys running routes and making plays for the team.

He said that the last two years were special, especially playing with such a strong group of receivers.

“It was really fun,” Tasker said. “We had a lot of receivers, so it was a lot of competition and we were just always seeing who would get the most catches, the most yards. So it was pretty fun.”

He said his biggest highlight of last year came when he caught the game-winning 2-point conversion against James Wood, for a 29-28 win, on homecoming night.

Tasker also played on defense as a defensive back. Gilbert said he could play a big role in their secondary this year as well.

The Hawks advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year, winning a playoff game for only the second time in school history.

Tasker said the success they had last year gives the team some good momentum going into this season.

“It motivates us a lot to try to get into the playoffs again, and win a couple more games and trying to have a winning record,” Tasker said.

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