Moten rushes for 6 TDs as Handley hammers Hawks

WINCHESTER – John Handley High School football coach John Davis said following Saturday’s game against Skyline that the Judges entered the Northwestern District matchup determined to ride the legs of senior running back Christian Moten and “see how it went.” As it turned out, that game plan went quite well for Handley.

Moten carried the load for the Judges’ offense, rushing 45 times for 251 yards and a school-record tying six touchdowns, and Handley’s defense stifled a Skyline offense missing its starting quarterback and running back en route to a 40-0 romp over the Hawks on a homecoming afternoon at the Handley Bowl.

For Skyline, the loss was its second straight to a Class 4 district opponent, and the Hawks limp into their bye week having mustered just 32 yards of offense and surrendering 321 yards rushing to Handley.

“It’s always a worry,” said Hawks head coach Heath Gilbert of his team coming out flat for a rare Saturday afternoon game. “I mean we talk about it, playing on Saturday. All week long it’s like we’ve gotta make sure we’re still not in third period. We’ve gotta be ready to play football. It’s a beautiful atmosphere here, it was a great day to play football and unfortunately just I don’t know if our heart was in it, unfortunately.

“I say that but some guys balled out,” he added. “I think one of the problems was guys knew (senior quarterback Ryan Scott) was sick and that was a downer for them.”

The Hawks (1-3) gave up 380 yards to a Handley (2-2) offense that ran the ball 59 times on Saturday, and Skyline lacked the necessary firepower to keep pace with Scott sidelined due to illness.

Scott, Skyline’s passing and rushing leader this season, came down with the flu prior to the game and was “in the bathroom more than he could do warm-ups,” Gilbert said. Scott started the game but left the field after Skyline’s first offensive possession, and he did not return to the sideline for the remainder of the contest.

Backup quarterback Chase Tasker went 6-of-14 passing for 68 yards (his first pass of the game was intercepted by Handley’s Kevin Curry) and was sacked five times. Skyline netted minus-36 yards rushing in the loss.

“We still try to play to our strength. We still have some kids outside that can do some things,” Gilbert said of a Skyline offense that also played without starting running back Quentin Diggs (ankle sprain) and lineman Tyler Chaparro-Compton. “But the biggest thing was our pass protection. We couldn’t protect Chase at all.

“We just kept missing linebackers,” he added. “We just weren’t picking them up and they were panicking. It’s unfortunate when we’re trying to work a couple different guys in there. Even though we practice it, it’s a lot different when the bullets are flying.”

Handley, which had operated primarily out of a spread offense in its first three games, ran almost exclusively out of the I formation against a Skyline defense that is allowing over 300 yards rushing per game.

Moten carried 10 times on the Judges’ 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive to open the game, capping the possession with a 5-yard touchdown run with 6:18 left in the first quarter. That started a string of three straight scoring drives for Handley in the opening frame, each of which ended with a Moten touchdown run.

Moten – who averaged 5.6 yards per rush in the win – had 20 carries for 136 yards in the first quarter alone, and 27 carries for 157 yards and four touchdowns at halftime as the Judges led 26-0 at the break.

“He was the hot guy,” Davis said of Moten, who rushed for two more touchdowns in the second half to tie the school record for rushing TDs in a game. “We went into the game, we knew we were gonna make sure he got his touches. Because he felt fresh and he wasn’t getting hit too much he felt like he could continue to carry the load. At halftime I think he had 20-something (carries) and he said, ‘Coach, I’m still good, keep riding me.’ He really wanted this for himself as a senior. His last homecoming, he really wanted to make sure that he put the team on his back, and he did that today.”

Skyline allowed 380 total yards to the Judges, as Handley quarterback Jacob Parker was 4-of-9 passing for 59 yards, a large chunk of that yardage coming on quick shovel passes to Curry (three receptions, 50 yards) on a pair of jet sweeps.

The final score could’ve been even more lopsided but Skyline junior Ty Clingerman picked off a pair of Parker passes in the end zone to halt two potential scoring drives.

“I thought some guys really competed hard,” Gilbert said. “I saw some tough effort. Our safeties were coming down, both those guys were competing. I saw some good sticks by linebackers trying to mix it up in there. Marcel Roy had a big hit in there as well. Guys are trying. I mean, we just weren’t able to hold up.”

Skyline returns to action on Sept. 29 with a home game against Strasburg.