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Turnovers, Curry sink Hawks in loss to Judges

Skyline's Laterrian Barber tries to elude Handley's Josiah Duffey after catching a first quarter pass Thursday evening in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER – Skyline hung with Handley for the majority of the game, but the play of the Judges’ Kevin Curry and five Hawk turnovers was too much to overcome.

Curry helped lead Handley to a 35-0 non-district football victory over the Hawks on Thursday afternoon.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Skyline on Friday night but was moved to Thursday due to the forecasted weather. The game was moved to Handley due to field conditions at Skyline.

“Hats off to Handley,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “They did a good job. It was just a tough loss.

Skyline (1-3) started the game off strong. The Hawks put together a 13-play drive that lasted five minutes and went 55 yards.

Skyline's Ty Clingerman looks for a hole to run through during a first quarter play against Handley Thursday evening in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Facing second-and-9 from the Handley 16-yard line, Skyline quarterback Chase Tasker’s pass was deflected and intercepted by Handley’s Tommy Ashby and returned to the Handley 35.

On Handley’s second possession of the game, the Judges marched 41 yards on six plays. On third-and-7 from the Skyline 24, Curry made an acrobatic catch, despite being double-teamed, on a pass from Jacob Parker for a touchdown to give the Judges a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

“He did a great job,” Gilbert said of Curry. “On that first jump ball, I thought (Skyline’s) Ty (Clingerman) was in great position. And then all of a sudden he just goes up and flies over top of our cornerback and makes a great play.”

Curry said that he was worried he was going to drop the ball on the play.

“I thought I dropped it actually,” Curry said. “I’m used to catching it with my hands, but I caught it (with my arms). So I thought I dropped it. It was a good pass. He led me to the end zone, got my feet in – touchdown.”

Handley's Malachi Imoh is hit by Skyline's Hayden Gray during a first half run Thursday evening in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Curry then made his impact on defense. The 6-foot-1 185-pound senior stretched out to make a one-handed over-the-shoulder interception on an overthrown pass by Tasker. Curry returned the interception to the Handley 30.

“I surprised myself with that one because I looked up and it was right there,” Curry said. “And I just stuck my hand out and just caught it. I’ve caught a couple passes one-handed but that was probably my favorite so far.”

Handley running back Malachi Imoh carried the ball on five straight plays, the last of which was a 14-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 advantage with 8:31 left in the first half.

The score stayed the same until Curry made another big defensive play. Curry picked up a Skyline fumble and went 79 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 9:48 left in the third quarter. Curry’s touchdown came just two plays after Skyline’s L.T. Barber recovered a Handley fumble at the Handley 20.

The Hawks only had one rushing yard last week and Gilbert said running the ball was a point of emphasis this week. The Hawks had only 23 yards rushing against the Judges.

Handley's Kevin Curry Jr. looks to make a move as Skyline's William Wolf moves in for a tackle during first half action Thursday evening in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“We really wanted to be better in the run game,” Gilbert said. “Last week it wasn’t very good at all for us. We tried to get some things going, but overall we just made too many mistakes.”

Parker threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Curry with 6:12 left to put seal the win. Curry finished with four catches for 78 yards.

Imoh finished with 124 yards on 15 carries for Handley in the running game, including a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

“(Curry’s) such a great threat out there,” Gilbert said. “You feel like you’ve got to slow him down with two people, and you get yourself in trouble with the run game. It’s tough.”

The Judges are 4-0 for the first time since 2009. First-year Handley coach Dan Jones said it’s a great start to the season, but his team needs to stay focused and play together.

Handley quarterback Jacob Parker gets pulled down by Skyline's Hayden Gray and a teammate during first half action Thursday evening in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“It’s a great feeling,” Jones said. “I don’t even know how to describe it. But it’s over. We’re 0-0 as far as I’m concerned. But it’s nice for them to have some success and see that they can win games if they play together.”

Tasker finished the game 13-for-27 passing for 64 yards, while Clingerman led the running game with 37 yards on six carries.

Skyline hosts George Mason next week. The Hawks were originally supposed to have a bye week but changed the schedule after Manassas Park canceled its football season in August.

“This was supposed to be a bye week, but it’s probably better for us that it’s not,” Gilbert said.

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