High School Football Roundup: Hawks pick up road win at Manassas Park

Warren County falls at home to Culpeper; Stonewall gets blown out by Draft; Sherando bounces back vs. Kettle Run

Heath Gilbert

Skyline High School’s football team went on the road Friday night and picked up a critical Class 3 Northwestern District victory with a 37-12 win over Manassas Park.

The Hawks limited the Cougars to 228 yards of offense and forced three turnovers in the victory, which improved Skyline to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in district play. Skyline and Manassas Park entered the game ranked seventh and eighth the VHSL Region 3B playoff ratings, respectively.

“Our defense was ready to play from the get-go,” Hawks head coach Heath Gilbert said the day after the victory. “Our offensive execution up front was a little out of whack. We had just some personnel changes there, we had some kids sick a little bit at the beginning of the week. We just had some missed assignments that we don’t usually do. But once we kind of settled down and cleaned that up we started to execute a lot better.”

Skyline’s first score of the game came via its defense, as senior Justin Jenkins scooped up a fumble and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown four minutes into the game.

After Manassas Park (1-6, 0-2) tied the game at 6-all, the Hawks reclaimed the lead with touchdown runs of 17 and 2 yards from senior quarterback Ryan Scott.

Brian Bush

The Cougars responded with a touchdown drive to pull within 8 points with 24 seconds left in the first half, but Skyline’s Douglas Cummings connected on a 30-yard field with five seconds left in the second quarter to send the Hawks into halftime with a 23-12 lead. A 52-yard pass from Scott to Bailey Smeltzer set up the field goal.

“That was big,” Gilbert said of the kick, “and then to start the second half they get the ball and they started to drive it on us and we get an interception. From that point on we were able to take over offensively.”

The Hawks put the game out of reach with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Luis Garcia (three receptions, 121 yards) in the third quarter and Tucker Fortney’s 11-yard scoring run with 9:29 to play.

Scott completed 8 of 17 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown in addition to his two rushing TDs, and Fortney led the Hawks’ rushing attack with 10 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Skyline finished with 319 yards of offense and didn’t turn the ball over.

The defense, which got interceptions from Matt Rutherford and L.T. Barber, held Manassas Park to 96 yards rushing on 43 carries. It marked the second time in the last three games that Skyline has held a team to less than 100 yards on the ground after being gashed by the run game in the first half of the season.

Skyline hosts William Monroe in another district matchup this Friday, and the Hawks have already eclipsed their win total from 2016 with three games yet to go this season.

Culpeper County 14, Warren County 3

Warren County fell short in a defensive battle at home Friday night, dropping a Class 3 Northwestern District matchup with Culpeper County, 14-3.

The Wildcats (3-4, 1-1 Northwestern District) broke a scoreless tie with Stuart Ashley’s 30-yard field goal with 8:46 left in the third quarter, but the visiting Blue Devils (2-5) scored the final 14 points of the contest.

Culpeper’s only offensive scoring drive of the night was set up when Warren County gambled on an onside kick following the field goal and failed to recover it, setting up a short field for the Blue Devils.

“My thinking was they were running the ball very well,” Wildcats head coach Brian Bush said Saturday, “and if we could get a chance to get the ball back and get that momentum moving forward and sort of try to score again, then that would help sort of break open the game a little bit.”

Culpeper increased its lead to two scores when junior Capone Hoffman intercepted Bryce Post’s pass and returned it for a touchdown with 6:10 to play.

“It was just a bad play call by myself,” Bush said. “I didn’t set our quarterback up for success on that play. I’ll take responsibility for that.”

Warren County finished with just 131 yards of offense in the loss, including 99 yards rushing. Ronnie Dodson led the Wildcats with 19 carries for 62 yards, and Post was 5 of 14 passing for 32 yards and two interceptions.

Culpeper had 252 yards of offense, including 193 yards on the ground. Quarterback Javae Colclough passed for 58 yards and rushed for 92 more to lead the Blue Devils.

“It was a defensive battle,” Bush said. “They came in and their offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and we had to make a few adjustments and sort of play around with a few things and try to put our guys in the best position to make a play. We had some success but it seemed like whenever we’d get a stop or whatnot they would make a big play. We just couldn’t get anything rolling on the offensive side. Whenever we made a big play we’d get set back by a penalty or something.”

Warren County travels to Manassas Park on Friday.

Stuarts Draft 42, Stonewall Jackson 10

Stonewall Jackson’s losing streak reached 24 straight games after a 42-10 Shenandoah District loss on the road at Stuarts Draft on Friday night.

The Cougars (4-3) scored touchdowns on their first four offensive snaps of the game to jumpstart the rout. Xavier Gunn scored on runs of 53 and 67 yards during the spurt, quarterback Freddie Watkins had a 39-yard touchdown run and Logan Leche added a 51-yard run to start the second quarter to give Draft a 28-0 lead.

Stonewall didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter, when Logen Patton scored on a 5-yard run. Blake McCourt later added a 38-yard field goal.

Patton carried 21 times for 88 yards for Stonewall, while Austin Ritchie had 12 carries for 36 yards and completed 5 of 11 passes for 21 yards. Drew Binion had five tackles for the Generals.

Stonewall hosts East Rockingham on Friday.

Sherando 35, Kettle Run 14

Sherando forced visiting Kettle Run into four turnovers and scored 28 unanswered points between the second and fourth quarters to top the Cougars, 35-14, in Class 4 Northwestern District action on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Warriors.

Less than a minute after Kettle Run tied the game at 7-all, Sherando (5-2, 1-1 Northwestern District) reclaimed the lead for good with junior quarterback Hunter Entsminger connected with Aaron Banks for a 70-yard touchdown pass with 4:02 left in the first half.

The Warriors’ running game took over from there. T.J. Washington and JoJo Doleman scored rushing touchdowns of 9 and 25 yards, respectively, in the third quarter before Entsminger plunged into the end zone from a yard out midway through the fourth quarter to give Sherando a 35-7 lead.

Entsminger completed 10 of 18 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown in the victory and added 26 yards rushing. Washington led all players with 95 yards rushing and a touchdown on 23 carries, and Doleman had eight carries for 69 yards and two TDs. Banks had five receptions for 103 yards and a score.

Malachi Doleman (team-high six tackles) and Frank Ritter III each picked off Kettle Run quarterback Casen Chumley (19 of 33 passing, 167 yards), and the Warriors also recovered two fumbles.

Sherando out-gained Kettle Run 376-281 in offensive yardage in the win and finished with 204 yards rushing.

The Warriors travel to Handley on Saturday afternoon, the first of three straight road games to close out the regular season.