Colonels outlast Hawks in OT

FRONT ROYAL — Overcoming adversity is a big part of winning football games, and it’s not always the team that does it’s best that wins. Sometimes it’s the team that does it last.

Both James Wood and Skyline had to overcome difficult situations Friday night but in the end the Colonels found a way to win a game they may have lost in the past.

Senior running back Mark Cisler’s two-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal lifted the Colonels to a thrilling 28-22 overtime victory over Skyline.

It was Wood’s second straight victory following a season opening-loss, matching the Colonels’ win total for all of last season.

“That’s high school football, I haven’t been involved in an overtime game in a long time,” James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said. “I think one of the big things is we’re a little bit deeper then they are, we have more numbers. We were doing a good job of pushing them around then we made some mistakes.

“Defensively we had some backups come in because we had some guys get hurt. Young guys stepping up was huge. They’re a resilient bunch, they don’t quit, I’m proud of them. It was an exciting game, they’re a tough team and they have a great quarterback [Ryan Scott]. I’ve said it before he’s one of the best quarterbacks since I’ve seen since I’ve been in the area.”

With the game tied 22-22 James Wood (2-1) started overtime with the ball on the Skyline 10. On first down, Tyler Arnold broke free for seven yards setting up the Colonels at the Hawks’ 3.

The next two plays were both to Cisler. On second down, he was stopped at the 1, but on third down he refused to go down and battled his way into the end zone for the 28-22 lead.

“To be honest I was nervous, because all I saw was green jerseys,” Cisler said. “I was just hoping my legs would take me across that line. This is big, especially with last year. This is our record, we were 2-8 last year and we’re already 2-1 and it’s just looking good from here on out.”

The extra point was mishandled and the Colonels had to settle for just a six-point lead with the Hawks yet to have the ball in overtime.

Skyline (1-2) gained a yard on first down on a quarterback run by Scott. However the next three plays, all passes, were incomplete with the fourth-and-goal toss batted away by sophomore defensive back Luke Esparza to seal the victory.

“The QB, that’s all that was going through my head, I don’t know about everyone but the only thing I was worried about was that quarterback,” Cisler said of the final Skyline drive. “I almost cried, it was the most exciting moment of my life (when the final pass fell incomplete).”

“We score with 3 seconds to go and even though they scored first [in overtime] I still felt good about putting our offense on the field in overtime with 10 yards to go,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “Unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

Things didn’t look good for the Colonels early falling behind in the second quarter 14-0. However Wood scored 22 unanswered points and held a 22-14 lead late in the fourth and had a couple of chances to put the game away.

Two fourth quarter trips to the red zone resulted in a lost fumble and a missed 38-yard field goal leaving it a one-possession game.

Skyline scored on two of its first three drives and held a 14-0 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. But from that point on, the Colonels defense made some adjustments and shut down the Hawks.

The Hawks were forced to play without their leading rusher, Quentin Diggs who sprained an ankle on their first scoring drive. He left the game on a cart and didn’t return.

Following the missed field goal, Skyline took over at their own 20 yard line with just 2:24 left in the game, trailing 22-14. With the way the Colonels defense had played in the second half and no Diggs, things looked good for Wood.


Unfazed, Skyline quarterback Scott drove his team to tie the score. Skyline went the last 30 yards in under 18 seconds. With 8.1 seconds left on the clock, facing a second and goal from the Wood 9, Scott rolled to the far side and found Luis Garcia in the end zone with just 3 seconds left. Needing the two point conversion to tie, Scott again rolled to the far side and like a replay again found Garcia to force overtime.

Scott ran 23 yards on a fourth-and-14 play for the first score of the game and then hit Trenton King on a 24-yard pass for the second score.

Wood answered immediately on their next drive.

The Colonels went 58 yards on six plays (all runs). Arnold got the Colonels on the board when he broke free down the far sideline and scored from 26 yards out. Cisler ran in the two-point conversion trimming the deficit to 14-8 which was the halftime score.

Wood scored on its first two possessions of the second half to grab the lead.

The Colonels drove 66 yards on 12 running plays and tied the score on a nine-yard run by sophomore William Crowder. Jacob Sortino drilled the extra point making it 15-14.

Facing a fourth-and-4 at their own 39, Skyline went for it and Scott was only able to gain a yard.

Six plays later Wood’s Samuel Adkins scored on a nine-yard run to make it 22-14 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

Wood is right back in Front Royal next Friday night against Warren County.