Skyline Football Notebook: Hawks failed to ‘trust our assignment’ in loss to Handley

WINCHESTER – Skyline High School’s football team was dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in Saturday’s 40-0 loss to Handley, exposing some lack of experience the Hawks have up front.

Skyline head coach Heath Gilbert said after the loss, the second straight for his squad, that the Hawks continue to develop players up front on offense and defense,  a situation that Handley took advantage of. Gilbert added that Hawks committed “mental mistake after mental mistake,” particularly on the offensive line.

“Execution up front was tough. We just didn’t trust our assignment we’d try to do,” Gilbert said. “(The Judges would) walk the linebacker and it’s not your job, it’s the (running) back’s job to pick it up but you (the offensive lineman) go to him, the back goes to him and the defensive lineman’s free. We’d do that and they were doing zero pressure, which we can’t get. They’re going to bring seven guys and we have six to block. We’ve gotta get the ball out fast or hit them up inside and we weren’t able to just wash it down, kick it out.

“We’re gonna see on film that we just probably panicked and we let guys go instead of just trusting our assignments, blocking gaps, because they showed you where they are.”

The Hawks, who played without starting quarterback Ryan Scott (flu) after their opening drive, struggled to protect backup QB Chase Tasker. He was sacked five times in the loss – Skyline allowed six total sacks and 10 tackles for loss – to contribute to minus-36 yards in net rushing.

Skyline, which also played without starting running back Quentin Diggs (ankle sprain) and lineman Tyler Chaparro-Compton, managed just 27 yards rushing on 14 carries against Handley, excluding sack yardage and a 20-yard loss on a fumble. Running backs Tucker Fortney and Kyle McHugh each carried five times for 7 and 10 yards, respectively.

SWITCHING IT UP: Handley had shown a multiple-style offense in its first three games of the season prior to Saturday’s matchup with Skyline, but the Judges ran almost exclusively from the I-formation against a Hawks defense allowing over 300 yards rushing to opposing teams this season.

Handley head coach John Davis said Saturday’s game was the first time this season that his team has shown their I-formation offense, and Gilbert said Skyline did not expect to see so much of that scheme from the Judges.

Handley senior running back Christian Moten carried 45 times for 251 yards and six touchdowns in the win.

“They looked at the stat sheet and they see that we struggle to stop the run and they were like ‘OK, we’re gonna pound them even though we’re a spread team,'” Gilbert said.

Gilbert added that the Hawks thought they’d see Handley operate out of twin sets in the I-formation because “we figured that they would attack us with (isolation) and that toss stuff.”

“But they went unbalanced with a two-tight end look and spread us out in there and really tried to put it on us,” he said. “It was effective for them.”

Handley averaged 5.4 yards per rush and ran the ball 59 times in the victory.

TIME FOR HEALING: Skyline has entered its bye week, a timely break for a team that has had a frustrating bout with injuries and illness over the first four weeks of the season. Gilbert said the Hawks’ primary focus during the off week would be to “get healthy” and worry about themselves.

Gilbert also said Skyline would get a jump on its next opponent – Strasburg – after scouting the Rams, along with two other future opponents, last Friday night.