Skyline Football Notebook: Hawks mix in fun, hard work on bye week

Skyline's Ty Clingerman breaks up a pass intended for Culpeper's Capone Hoffman during third quarter action of Friday night's game in Front Royal. The Hawks have a bye this week and will return to action on Oct. 19 at William Monroe. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline football coach Heath Gilbert said that it’s important for his players to be able to enjoy their bye week. That’s why each year they have a dodgeball tournament during the bye week.

This week is Skyline’s bye week, and Gilbert said they had this year’s dodgeball tournament on Thursday, but they also practiced Thursday as well. Gilbert said the winner of the dodgeball tournament gets free chocolate milk.

“They enjoy it,” Gilbert said on Wednesday of the dodgeball tournament. “You definitely want to do something fun like that, because it doesn’t need to be so serious and regimented — not that we’re not going to practice hard. But you want to let them loosen up a little bit and have some fun. Whether it’s a whiffle ball tournament or kickball or dodgeball like we do, something like that over the bye week, I think, is important.”

Gilbert said it’s also important this week for his team to work hard and take things seriously and try to continue to improve. He said he was happy with how hard his players practiced on Tuesday.

“This week is all about attitudes as far as team and players. We’re either going to get better, or we’re going to waste our time,” Gilbert said. “Last week was disappointing. At this point in the season, we’re 2-5 – – it’s disappointing. So the kids could come in here, have excuses, but we actually had a great practice (Tuesday). I told them after practice that I appreciate their mindset. We have a three-game stretch in front of us where it’s very possible we could go 3-0, but it’s possible we could go 0-3.”

EARLY PREPARATION: Gilbert said that the bye week helps the Hawks have an extra week to get ready for William Monroe. The Hawks will travel to William Monroe on Oct. 19 in another important Class 3 Northwestern District game.

Gilbert said his players need to take the week seriously and get extra-prepared for William Monroe. The Green Dragons play Brenstville tonight.

“We have an idea of what they’re doing,” Gilbert said. “(William Monroe is) focused on Brenstville, which is what they should be. They’re not thinking about us at all. So we’re thinking about them all week.”

Gilbert said the extra week would come in handy to get ready for the Green Dragons’ option offense.

“They’re running some dive option stuff,” Gilbert said. “So, to get on top of that a week early is good. It’s the first time we’ve seen some true option stuff for a quarterback who can run. It’s going to be important for us to get that extra work this week. It will be very good for our kids.”

DEFENSE ON THE RISE: Gilbert said that one area that he has seen growth in is his team’s defense.

Gilbert said he has more confidence in his defense this year and it’s been nice seeing them make some plays.

“It’s been tough over the last couple of years,” Gilbert said. “We’ve been given up too many yards. So that we now actually feel like we can get stops and get off the field is good.”

The Hawks have a young squad on defense, and Gilbert said the future looks bright on that side of the ball.

“We’re going to actually bring some guys back that can do some things on the defensive side of the ball, which is exciting for us,” he said. “And I have a lot of confidence in them, for sure.”