James Wood turns away Skyline for first win of season


WINCHESTER — Saturday's clash must have seemed like some weird form of instant replay for the James Wood and Skyline football teams.

On week after getting a touchdown in the final minutes to beat Broadway 21-20, the Hawks faced the same 20-14 deficit against the Colonels.

And a week after letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away against Justice, James Wood found itself needing a defensive stop to prevent a heartbreaking loss.


On a rainy Saturday at Kelican Stadium, this time the script had a different ending.

James Wood's Jackson Turner picked off a deflected pass on the game's final play as the Colonels held on for the 20-14 triumph.

Skyline (1-2) had first-and-goal from the James Wood 8 with 33.5 seconds left, but lost four yards in four plays as the Colonels got their first win of the season.

“Last week, we gave up a game at the end, on the seven-yard line just like tonight,” said Colonels' defensive lineman Walker See, who led a defense which held the Hawks to one yard on 20 carries. “We worked a lot this week on not doing that and it showed on the field.”

William Crowder had a pair of touchdown runs, including a 44-yarder for the Colonels (1-2). Quarterback Carson Hoberg also rushed for a score..

“This is big after last week giving the game away,” Crowder said. “Tonight, we dug deep and gave whatever we had left.”

Chase Tasker threw for 237 yards and a score for Skyline.

James Wood seemingly had the game in hand once again in the fourth quarter, but for the second straight week a turnover led directly and opponent score.

Leading 20-7, the Colonels had just ended a Skyline drive with Jacob Owens' interception, but Owens brought the ball out of the end zone and was tackled on the 3.

Two plays later, Hoberg couldn't grab a high snap. Crowder made a diving attempt at a recovery in the end zone, but missed and Skyline's Wyatt Spiker came up with the ball after a scramble for a touchdown.

“I saw it and I slid and then I never found out where it was at,” Crowder said.

Douglas Cummings' extra point made it 20-14 with 5:02 left.

“That kind of changed the tenor of the game, but the defense really did a great job of stepping up and making some plays at the end,” James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said.

After a nice kick return by Crowder, the Colonels were able to get one first down, but on fourth-and-4 from the Skyline 37, Crowder was dropped for a five-yard loss with 2:48 left.

The Colonels had the Hawks immediately in a fourth-down situation, but the drive was prolonged by an interference call.

After a incompletion, Tasker (16 of 35) hit on four straight, pushing the ball to the James Wood 8 with 33.5 seconds to go.

After an incompletion on first down, a low shotgun snap cost the Hawks four yards, plus they had to hustle to get off a third-down pass because they had no timeouts.

After a third-down misfire, just 1.2 seconds remained.

On fourth down, Tasker threw to the right side of the end zone, but the ball was deflected back to Turner, who cradled it and fell at the 2.

The turnover was the ninth in the contest.

“It was tough to secure the ball for both teams,” said Skyline coach Heather Gilbert, whose team lost two fumbles and had a pair of passes picked off. “I'm sure at times they felt they had momentum and then the ball squirts out. Their fumble late obviously gave us an opportunity. We were able to go down the field, but there were just too many times where we couldn't finish a drive and obviously that came back to get us.”

Even facing the same situation as a week ago, See said the Colonel defense remained confident.

“We had held them to less than eight yards on four downs before in the ballgame,” said the 6-foot-2, 236-pound senior, who had a pair of sacks. “We could do it again.”

James Wood got a big lift with the return of four players who missed last week's loss to Justice ---- Hoberg, Crowder, two-way lineman Luke Roy and linebacker Joey Vitola.

Roy had a particularly strong game, shifting from guard to center after an injury to Hayden Cunningham and helping a dominating effort on the defensive line.

“It was big that Luke Roy came back,” Morgan said. “He made a lot of plays. Even when he was getting blocked, he was making tackles. It's nice to have him for the first time this season.”

Roy, See and company frustrated the Hawks' ground game. Ty Clingerman led them with just 12 yards on seven carries.


“When it's really muddy and wet out here, you have to run the football,” said See, who also plays on the Colonels' offensive line. “For our defense to stop the run like that, it's huge because then they have to put the ball in the air.”

“That was the biggest disappointment,” Gilbert said. “We were unable to get our running game going at all. They really took the line of scrimmage and put it back in our backfield. That was tough.”

Yet, it was the Hawks who led through most of the game, thanks to their first series. On third-and-16 on Skyline's first series, Tasker hit a streaking Caleb Reedy in stride and Reedy (7 catches, 142 yards) did the rest for a 64-yard strike to make it 7-0.

The score would stay that way until late in the second quarter after the Colonels recovered a fumble at the Skyline 42.

On third-and-6 from the 38, Hoberg rolled right and hit Treyven Mandel along the right sidelines for a 29-yard gain. Two plays later, Hoberg kept the ball to the last second on an option play then pitched it to Crowder, who waltzed into the end zone from five yards out. The Colonels missed on a conversion pass and trailed 7-6 at the half.

James Wood took advantage of a seven-yard punt to get ahead. The Colonels drove 52 yards in six plays. Hoberg's 33-yard, third-down strike to Tylor McBride put the ball at the 20. Three plays later, Hoberg rolled left on another option play, but this time he faked a pitch to Sam Adkins (14 carries, 87 yards) and rolled untouched into the end zone. Chris Garcia's extra point made it 13-7.

“Carson is really good at understanding the offense and what we're trying to do,” Morgan said. “We can call plays and he can make adjustments. … He just brings a different element to the game because he can run and he throws the ball well. He made some nice completions with a wet football in some some wet conditions.”

Crowder, who like Hoberg was injured in the season opener against Sherando, broke loose with his sprinter's speed near the end of the third quarter.

Sweeping right, Crowder cut inside, then dipped outside. Finding daylight, he bolted up the right sidelines for a 44-yard TD run.

“Everything was good,” said Crowder, who had 83 yards on 10 carries. “It took me a little bit to go up inside and then I planted and I got going. I give it all to my offensive line for blocking all night.”

“That big run by Crowder, he's so fast,” Gilbert said. “A kid with that kind of elite speed, he can take it to the house on you whereas a normal kid maybe wouldn't.”

Though disappointed with the loss, Gilbert spoke highly of his team, which will host unbeaten Handley on Friday.

“If you look at last week, we were in a similar situation and we were able to make the plays to finish,” he said. “We got down pretty close and we just weren't able to capitalize on it. We didn't quit. We didn't hang our heads. The boys kept battling and believed they could do it. We just came up short.”

The Colonels, who host Warren County on Friday, hope Saturday's will be something they can build upon for next week and beyond.

“It's huge,” See said. “It gives us motivation going into Week 4 and the rest of the season with our first win after getting a heartbreaking loss last week. It shows everybody that we can win close games.”