James Wood Falls In Overtime Thriller To Skyline

Posted: October 17, 2015
Special to The Winchester Star

FRONT ROYAL — There is no question football is a game of emotion and motivation, lots of ups and downs.

The James Wood High School football team seems to have hit every peak and valley in their last two games.

Coming off an emotional heartbreaking loss against rival Sherando where they nearly upset the mighty Warriors only to see a late lead disappear, the Colonels were hoping to rebound against Skyline, a team that allowed more than 300 rushing yards last week to Millbrook.

As up and down as the Sherando game was for the Colonels it was no where near the roller coaster ride they experienced Friday at Skyline High School.

Each team lost a significant offensive starter, each team had leads they were unable to hold and each team had numerous opportunities to win the game. And fittingly, the game was deadlocked at 21-21 at the end of regulation.

In the end it was another heartbreaking Northwestern District loss for the Colonels as the Hawks scored a two-point conversation on the final play of the game to stun the Colonels 29-28 in overtime.

“We had too many penalties. We were behind the chains all night,” James Wood coach Mark McHale said. “The bottom line is too many penalties. Our offensive line didn’t play very well. They’ve played well all year. They just didn’t gel tonight, and it started with their penalties.”

During the course of the game both teams lost a major part of their offense, which made the going tougher for each squad.

With just over a minute gone in the second quarter James Wood star running back and area rushing leader Tyler Bishop broke free for what looked at first like a potential 61-yard touchdown run. However, Bishop was caught from behind and dragged down. The play went for 33 yards, but Bishop was shaken up and had to leave the game. He did not return.

The extent of his injury was not immediately known.

Less than three minutes into the second half Skyline quarterback Dylan Hamman was injured on a quarterback keeper. He was helped off the field and he also did not return to the game.

With key members of the offenses sidelined, the two teams turned to other options to try and pull off the victory.

Wood (4-3, 0-2 Northwestern District) got the first crack at the end zone in the overtime period and went right to work.

Following an offside penalty against the Hawks, the Colonels had first-and-goal from the 5. Two plays later Ryan Funkhouser took the inside handoff and busted through the line for four yards and a touchdown, giving the Colonels the lead at 28-21.

Skyline (3-4, 1-1) put all its trust in backup quarterback Ryan Scott, and the sophomore came through for them.

On second and goal from the 9, Scott rolled out to his left. Just when it appeared he would be stopped for a loss he was able to escape and head up the far sidelines to the Colonels’ 2-yard line. On the next play Brad Halsey punched it in to make it 28-27.

Skyline coach Heath Gilbert then reached into his back of tricks and pulled out a two-point play that many of the Colonels likely saw over and over in their Friday night.

Halsey took the direct snap from center and ran toward his left to the far side of the field. Just as it appeared the Colonels were going to stop him short of the end zone Halsey zipped a quick pass to Aaron Tasker in the front corner of the end zone for the game-winner.

Hours earlier it seemed as if the night was going to go very well for the Colonels.

After winning the toss and deferring to the second half the Colonels got a huge gift when Skyline fumbled the opening kick and Wood recovered at the Hawks’ 16-yard line.

Two plays later Bishop was scoring from 10 yards out and Wood enjoyed a 7-0 lead.

It got even better on Skyline’s first offensive possession when the Colonels ended a promising Hawks drive with an interception, James Wood’s first of two on the night, near the goal line.

The Hawks got it together on their next possession and overcame a couple of penalties and put together an impressive 14-play, 67-yard drive for the tying touchdown.

On the drive they converted a fourth-and-7 to keep the drive alive and tied the game up when Hamman scored from 20 yards out to make it 7-7.

Wood’s next possession was a one-play drive that resulted in a fumble, and the injury to Bishop seemingly changing the momentum in an instant.

The two teams exchanged quick three-and-outs before the Hawks started a drive on their 42 yard line and put together another nice drive, this time eight plays and 58 yards, to give Skyline its first lead of the game.

Three screen passes from Hamman to Halsey netted the Hawks 29 yards and set them up at the Colonels 7-yard line. From there Halsey took it in on a second down play to make it 14-7.

The Colonels started their next possession on their own 48-yard line and had hopes of getting some points before halftime, but the Hawks had other plans.

Wood gained a total of six yards on the play and turned the ball over on downs at the Skyline 44, giving the Hawks just over a minute to try and add to their lead.

Hamman quickly drove his team down to the Wood 26-yard line and looked as if they may had gotten into the end zone. But a great defensive play by Keegan DeHaven kept the Colonels within seven at the break.

Momentum seemed to swing back the way of the Colonels almost as soon as Hamman left with his injury.

A couple of defensive stands and a 23-yard punt return by Dillon Manuel set the Colonels up in great shape at the Hawks’ 21-yard line.

Funkhouser broke loose for a 16-yard gain on the second play taking the ball to the one, where the Colonels had first and goal. From there, Asa Brewer did the rest on a one-yard dive right up the middle to tie the game at 14-14.

The Wood defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out giving the ball right back to the offense, and they responded.

An 80-yard drive in seven plays, capped by a 27-yard pass from quarterback Dade Carroll to Manuel with just over nine minutes to play, gave the Colonels the lead back at 21-14.

Playing their first home game in over a month, and their homecoming game at that, the Hawks had no intention of going down without a fight.

On the ensuing possession Skyline took over at its own 41 and drove 59 yards in seven plays, making it look easy at times, and tied the game on a 15-yard run by Halsey, his second of the game, making it 21-21 with 5:37 to play.

Wood had two more possessions before the fourth quarter clock expired. Though it had nice plays and a solid drive, it had a couple breakdowns that costit one drive, and then missed a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the game to try and win it.

Skyline outgained the Colonels 306 to 231 and had 19 first downs to Wood’s nine. Halsey had 81 yards on 22 carries and two scores while Hamman completed 12 passes for 177 yards to lead the Hawks. Bishop had 64 yards rushing before he left the game and Funkhouser added 56. Each had one touchdown. Carroll completed seven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.