James Wood explodes with 35 points in second quarter to rout Skyline

FRONT ROYAL — Two weeks ago the James Wood football team was completely frustrated in a season-opening loss to rival Sherando.
Friday night the Colonels took out a lot of that frustration on undefeated Skyline. Last year the game between Wood and Skyline came down to the last possession of the contest, but this year the Colonels made sure that wouldn’t be the case.
James Wood scored all five times it had the ball in the second quarter to race out to a 42-0 halftime lead. The Colonels never looked back and knocked off the Hawks 48-14.
“Offensively our coaches came up with a good game plan and we kind of did what we’ve been working on,” James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said. “We’ve worked hard these past couple of weeks and we fixed some of the mental mistakes we made against Sherando. I was really proud of our kids. They clicked, they knew their assignments and they came through with some big plays.
“We have good athletes and we wanted to get them the ball and let them do what they’re capable of doing. We got the ball to Will [Crowder] and we got the ball to Jaden [Ashby] and Carson [Hoberg] did a good job managing the offense. We just let them go out and make plays.”
Hoberg completed 15 of 24 passes for 338 yards and four TDs, Ashby had eight catches for 162 yards and a TD and Crowder had two TDs.
Skyline (2-1) took the opening kick and looked to be in business picking up 20 yards on its first four plays. However, on third-and-4 from the Wood 49 the Hawks lost two yards and were forced to punt to the Colonels.
Wood (1-1) took its opening drive to the Skyline 20 but the drive stalled and the Colonels turned it over on downs. It would be the last time in the first half they didn’t score.
After a short punt set the Colonels up on the Skyline 35, Hoberg and the offense went to work. Hoberg missed on his first two passes of the drive but on third-and-10 he hit Crowder in stride and the senior did the rest, going 35 yards untouched for the first score of the game.
It was a preview of things to come.
With less than a minute left in the first quarter the Colonels took over on their 47 and proceeded to put together a nine-play, 53-yard drive and took a 14-0 lead on a Sam Adkins one-yard run with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
After a Skyline three-and-out and another short punt, the Colonels were right back in business on the Hawks’ 31-yard line. This time it took five plays and Jackson Turner did the honors with a rushing TD from one yard out to give Wood a convincing 21-0 cushion.
The next three James Wood drives showed just how explosive its offense can be.
It looked like the Hawks had finally pinned the Wood offense in bad field position after a 54-yard punt put the Colonels on their own 10. But it only took Wood two plays to go 90 yards and increase the lead.
Both plays were passes to Jaden Ashby, with the second one bringing Wood fans to their feet. Ashby broke free behind the Hawks defense and was all alone when Hoberg hit him in stride, and then it was simply a foot race that Ashby won. He went 81 yards untouched for a 28-0 advantage.
“We worked really hard this past week and Carson was good executing the offense,” Ashby said. “We knew they were a good team and we knew at halftime we had to keep it up.”
The Colonels next two possessions were set up by a blocked punt and another short punt giving Wood the ball on the Hawks’ 18- and 34-yard lines respectively. The result was two one-play scoring drives.
Crowder scored his second touchdown of the night on an 18-yard end around and Hoberg followed that up with another scoring strike, this time a 34-yard pass to Jayson Herndon to complete the near-perfect first half and a 42-0 lead at the break.
The Colonels’ defense which had issues two weeks ago forced Skyline to punt on each of its first seven drives.
Skyline finally got on the board on its first drive of the second half when it looked as if it would have to punt from deep in its own end again.
The Colonels downed a punt at the Skyline 5. Three plays later the Hawks faced a third-and-10 from their own 17. That’s when quarterback Blake Appleton found Logan Maiatico for a 83-yard TD pass. Maiatico made several nifty moves to shake loose from the defense and trim the deficit to 42-7.
Appleton found Marion Haley (seven TDs in the first two games) in the back of the end zone for a five-yard scoring pass with 2:37 left. Wood held Haley to just two catches for five yards and one run for three.
“We had some opportunities but they scored so fast it kind of took running the ball out of the equation,” Skyline coach Heath Gilbert said. “They double-teamed Marion [Haley] and they forced other guys to make plays. We missed some opportunities but you’ve got to give credit to James Wood. They played hard and they have some playmakers.
“It’s one game, we’ve got to look at the film and correct what we can. We’ve got to be ready for what’s coming because a lot of teams are going attack us just like this.”
Appleton finished the night throwing for 136 yards and two scores and rushed for 69 yards for the Hawks. Maiatico hauled in four passes for 101 yards and a score.
Morgan hopes his team can keep the momentum from Friday’s win going.
“There’s not a lot to be unhappy with,” Morgan said. “I want to be sure we keep up the intensity and still clicking as best as possible. I’m proud of the kids. Every team has something to work on whether they won or lost. We’ll fix some things.”
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