FRONT ROYAL — The first quarter couldn’t have gone much better for the Skyline Hawks in their 32-7 win over visiting Broadway on Friday night.
In fact, the only problem the Hawks had in the opening quarter was failing to convert extra points.
Skyline scored on its first three possessions of the game and junior transfer wide receiver Marion “Budder” Haley was a huge part of the Hawks early game success.
The former Warren County Wildcat, who scored four touchdowns in the Hawks 53-42 in over Independence the week before, added three more scores in the win over the Gobblers.
“Budder Haley has been a fortunate addition to our program,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “He is a play maker. Budder forces defenses to adjust.”
On Skyline’s first possession of the game sophomore quarterback Blake Appleton hooked up with Haley on two big pass plays to set up the Hawks’ first score.
Haley hauled in passes of 26 and 27 yards on the drive to set up Darion Santucci’s 1-yard score.
After the Hawks defense forced a three-and-out, Skyline wasted little time in making the score 12-0 as Haley added a 27-yard catch and then a 14-yard TD reception to his performance.
Again, the Skyline defense forced the Gobblers to punt after three plays and Haley and the Hawks struck again.
With a second-and-seven from the Broadway 26, Appleton hooked up with Haley once again for another touchdown pass and catch and an 18-0 lead.
“It all starts up front with our line,” Haley said. “If Blake doesn’t have time to deliver the ball, I don’t have the opportunity to make plays. If everyone does their job, we are gonna put up some yards.”
The Gobblers (0-2) finally put together a drive late in the first quarter that carried over into the second, but the drive bogged down deep into Skyline territory.
Facing a fourth-and-21 from the Skyline 30, Broadway sophomore quarterback Cole Hoover launched a high jump ball pass toward the end zone that receiver David Thew came down with in tight coverage to put the Gobblers on the board.
Any momentum that Broadway was enjoying was quickly taken away by Haley on the ensuing kick-off.
Haley received the kick at the Skyline 12 yard line, shot through a hole in the middle of Broadways’ coverage, and raced 88 yards for another Skyline touchdown and a 25-7 lead.
“The guys opened up a huge hole,” Haley said. “I was able to get up field and turn it on”
The second half didn’t feature many scoring highlights, but it did provide plenty of fireworks as the hard-hitting game turned chippy.
The entire second half was marred by several personal fouls on each team.
“It was a hard fought game and Broadway is a blue-collar tough group, but I’m proud of how our kids fought hard,” Gilbert said. “We are certainly disappointed with the number of personal fouls we received, but these young men are learning to deal with adversity. Sometimes it takes life consequences or ups and downs to learn how to walk away.”
In all, Skyline was penalized nine times for 85 yards and Broadway five times for 55 yards.
The Skyline defense did some bending in the second half, but came up with several big plays to keep the Broadway offense out of the end zone.
Junior Will Wolf led the charge by coming up with a pair of sacks in the second half, the second causing Hoover to fumble (recovered by Skyline’s Ethan Gue) to set up the Hawks final score.
“It was a physical game,” Wolf said. “They have some great players, but we were able to step up and make a play when we had to. We have to clean up the penalties, especially the personal fouls. we need to learn to maintain our composure and not give away yards.”
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Wolf was not only a key along the defensive line, but a huge blocker along the offensive line as well.
“He is not only a good football player, but captain and a leader,” Gilbert said. “We count on him in many ways. He’s been a starter for three years and his smarts, strength and toughness were on display tonight.”
Haley, who was quiet for most of the second half, expect for breaking up several Broadway pass plays on defense, set up the Hawks final score in the fourth as he hauled in a 33-yard pass.
Santucci scored his second TD of the game on a 5-yard run to cap off the scoring.
Logan Maiatico came up with an interception in the Skyline end zone to keep the Gobblers out of the end zone late in the game.
“The start went how we had hoped, we were able to execute and put a lot of pressure on their defense,” Gilbert said. “We really hurt ourselves with missed assignments and Broadway played our run game super tough. Our defense carried us in the second half.”
The Gobblers gained just 202 yards of offense and averaged less than a yard per carry on the ground.
The Hawks defense held Hoover to 15-of-37 passing for 193 yards.
Skyline gained 283 yards on offense as Appleton completed 12-of-23 passes for 185 yards. The Hawks gained 98 yards on the ground.
Haley was the star again for the Hawks, catching six passes for 147 yards and two TD’s, to go along with his 88-yard kick-off return.
“It’s always big to come out and set the tempo — it keeps the fans hyped up and we feed off that,” Haley said. “Our defense played great and offensively we did some good things, but also left a lot of points on the field with missed opportunities.
“We will work on cleaning those up this week in practice and get ready for James Wood.”