If you're a fan of offense, last Friday's conference match-up in Annandale was the place to be. Hayfield would need every one of their 50 points to claim the outright Gunston District Championship. The 50-43 victory over Annandale marked Hayfield's seventh district title in school history, posting a 4-0 record against Annandale, Mount Vernon, T.C. Williams, and West Potomac.
The game featured five lead changes, two ties, and scores on 13 of 17 possessions. The Hawks would again rely on Senior Brian Cobbs to get the ball into the hands of Hayfield's dynamic receiving core, completing 21 of 27 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns.
The Atoms opening possession would be an indicator of things to come for Hayfield's run defense, who would surrender over 300 yards on the ground, by driving 80 yards on 12 plays to grab the early 7-0 lead. After a 70 yard kickoff return from Cobbs (SR) set the Hawks up deep in Atoms territory, a pursuing Atoms defender two plays later would cause an errant Cobbs (SR) pass to be intercepted. Fortunately for the Hawks, the Atoms were unable to replicate their earlier drive and punted. Cobbs (SR) would find the human wrecking ball, Senior Travis Williams, on a 20 yard touchdown to draw the score even at 7-7.
Annandale would respond, in a more methodical way, by driving 95 yards on 14 plays and score on a 3 yard run, retaking the lead 14-7 with 9:29 remaining in the 2nd quarter. On Hayfield's next possession, Cobbs (SR) would find all of his weapons, Tim Wiggins (JR), Trevor Gleason (SO), and Williams (SR), through the air and then used his feet on a 19 yard touchdown. The extra point would be no good, leaving the Hawks trailing 13-14. Another 14 play 63 yard drive by Annandale not only extended their lead to 21-13, but was also gassing Hayfield's defense in the process.
Cobbs (SR) wasted no time finding a wide open Rayjuon Pringle (JR) on a 44 yard touchdown and then capped it off with a run on the two-point conversion, equalizing the score 21-21 with 1:57 in the 2nd quarter. After a holding penalty set back the Atoms, the Hawks would use their timeouts in order to get one more chance before halftime. On what seemed to be another miracle tipped touchdown pass to Pringle (JR), the Atoms were saved by a questionable offensive pass interference call. Hayfield would head to the locker room tied in a battle, with district bragging rights on the line.
In the second half, both teams knew whoever blinked first might be on the losing end of this shootout. After Hayfield received the kickoff, Cobbs (SR) lead the offense 60 yards on 9 plays, including a perfect 5/5 passing, to find Williams (SR) on a 4 yard jump pass. The 28-21 Hayfield lead would not last long, a 12 play 68 yard drive by Annandale and an accidental two-point conversion gave them a 29-28 lead with 4:35 in the 3rd quarter. Fortunately for Hayfield, the offense was clicking on all cylinders, and Cobbs (SR) found the endzone on a 4 yard run, and added the two point conversion to regain a 7 point lead, 36-29.
Senior Stephen King would make Annandale blink first, finding his way into the backfield with two consecutive tackle for losses, forcing the Atoms to punt. Cobbs (SR) would find Senior Jevon Pailin on the very next play for a 76 yard strike blowing the score open to 43-29. Annandale however was not going anywhere, they drove 71 yards on 14 plays, found another accidental two-point conversion, and brought the game within six points, 43-37 with 7:16 in the 4th quarter.
Tantamount to a closer in baseball, the Hawks called on the services of running back Senior Kylan Booker to milk clock and pick up chunks of yards in the process. Booker (SR) was able to find a running lane and scored on a 25 yard touchdown, extending the lead 50-37 with 5:13 in the 4th quarter. Annandale would score again on a 10 play drive and attempt the onside kick, but was unsuccessful. Booker (SR) gained another first down and the battle was over, 50-43.
Friday's win was the first over the Atoms since 2005 and the Hawks led the overall series 10-6. Hayfield is currently tied for 3rd in the Occoquan Region playoff standings, however the seeding and opponent for next week's playoff game will not be known until late Friday night.
Next up: @ Oakton (2-7) | Friday, November 3 | 7:00 pm
Hayfield 50, Annandale 43
In typical Hayfield fashion, spotting opponents several scores before finding their grove has been their modus operandi. In five of six games this year, Hayfield has failed to score on their opening drive, including last Friday's victory against Mount Vernon. After trailing 0-14 early, not many would have predicted it would turn out to be the second highest scoring game in Hayfield history, falling four points short of last year's 67 point drubbing of Edison. In addition, the combined 104 points (63-41) eclipsed the previous Hayfield record of 96 set between Hayfield and South County in 2016.
Senior Travis Williams broke the ice for Hayfield by pressing the stiff arm and spin buttons on a 48 yard touchdown pass from Junior Monty Byers, the first of many. Mount Vernon was not deterred and responded immediately after poor tackling by the Hawks, to maintain the two score lead 7-20. On the next possession, Byers (JR) would find a wide open Brian Cobbs (SR) on a 17 yard pass, signaling the salvo from Hayfield's air attack was just getting started.
After the Majors first drive of the 2nd quarter stalled, Byers (JR) started to spread the wealth to Cobbs (SR), Tim Wiggins (JR), and Rayjuon Pringle (JR). Byers (JR) hit Wiggins (JR) on a 48 yard pass and then found Pringle (JR) on a 22 yard touchdown to put the Hawks ahead 21-20. Sensing an impending barnburner, the Majors attempted, and failed, on a fake punt. Byers (JR) wasted no time finding holes in the Mount Vernon secondary and connected with Williams (SR) on a 36 yard touchdown to extend the lead 28-20 with 7:00 remaining in the 2nd quarter. The Majors drove the ball into the Hawks redzone and on 1st and Goal slipped poor tackling from Hawk defenders to score, 28-26. Unfortunately for the Majors, the 78 seconds remaining before halftime was more than enough time for Byers (SR) and Pringle (JR) to execute a 62 yard tunnel screen blocked perfectly by Senior left guard Kofi Aboagye-Nyame and Junior left tackle Javier Oliver to go up 35-26.
Early in the 3rd quarter, Senior Demonte Richardson forced and recovered a Mount Vernon fumble at which point Hayfield would lean heavily on Senior running back Kylan Booker, who would finish with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Byers (JR) found Cobbs (SR) again on a 5 yard touchdown pass to extend the lead 42-26. With the game pulling away from the Majors, they would fail on a 4th down at midfield. Then on the next Hawks possession Jalen Byers (JR) made a nice adjustment on an under-thrown ball from his brother Monty to undercut the defender and secure the 35 yard touchdown pass. Byers (JR) would finish 18/33 with 378 yards and seven touchdowns. The seven touchdowns are the most by a Hayfield quarterback in a single game in recent memory, however it cannot definitively be said it's a school record as not all statistics are known from years ago.
In the 4th quarter, Mount Vernon's 10 play 40 yard drive would stall, but the flipped field position would come in handy. On the next Hayfield drive, a tipped ball off the fingers of Cobbs (SR) was snagged by a Mount Vernon defender for a 19 yard defensive touchdown. "Two Play" Booker (SR) handled the next drive all by himself on a 23 yard pickup and then finished with a cut move, outrunning two Major defenders and plowing over a third for the 33 yard score, 56-34.
A desperation heave by Mount Vernon was intercepted by Senior Kennedy Ntiamoah, but the succeeding Hayfield drive would be fumbled after confusion with the snap count, one of the few Hawks miscues. In Hawk territory, the Majors would cash in on a quarterback run, but it was too late, 56-41. Booker (SR) would tack on another touchdown for the final 63-41 score. Hayfield was also a prefect 9/9 on extra points with Freshman Elly Gorham contributing seven kicks and Senior Ben Gaynor with two. The Hawks have won 11 in a row over the Majors and lead the all-time series 22-16-1.
Next up: @ T.C. Williams (4-2) | Saturday, October 14 | 1:00 pm
Hayfield 63, Mount Vernon 41
There's no use trying to sugar coat the 42-7 trouncing Robinson put on Hayfield last Thursday. From the first whistle to the last, the Hawks were dominated in all aspects in the game. Robinson's Wing-T offense presented numerous challenges for Hayfield's defense upfront as they methodically moved the ball down the field chewing up gobs of clock. Robinson held the ball for 35:59 on nine possessions (six touchdowns, two fumbles, one as time expired) compared to Hayfield's 12:01 on seven possessions (one touchdown, one fumble, four punts, one as time expired).
Two would-be Hawks possessions were flubbed by fumbles on kickoff returns that prevented the offense from not only establishing any rhythm but also from touching the football. The lone bright spot for Hayfield was a Monty Byers (JR) 15 yard touchdown pass to Jevon Pailin (SR) in the 2nd quarter to make the appearance of a close game at 7-14. The Hawks possession was only setup by a Robinson fumble at their own 11 yard line.
While the game was still in reach at halftime, down only 7-21, Hayfield's offense would not touch the ball until 3:34 was left in the 3rd quarter. Robinson drove 69 yards on 11 plays to open the second half, and then another 27 yards on 5 plays after Hayfield fumbled the kickoff return to take a 35-7 lead. Hayfield's offense would only run three plays in each of the first and third quarters.
The Hayfield-Robinson match-up has always been off-kilter, the Rams now lead the series 18-4, have won nine in a row, and have limited the Hawks to a combined 10 points over the past six games.
Next up: vs. Mount Vernon (5-0) | Friday, October 6 | 7:00 pm
Hayfield 7, Robinson 42
Hayfield left a golden opportunity on the field last Friday against South County in a bid to move to 4-0. The Hawks and Stallions have only met 11 times, but seven of the contests have now been decided by seven or fewer points. Unfortunately, Hayfield has been on the losing end of that equation more often than not. After last year’s 96 point barn burner, the game started much the same with 13 points being scored in the first 2:24. After an excellent kickoff return by South County to set the Stallions up on the Hawks 42 yard line, it took six plays to score on a 23 yard pass. Junior Rayjuon Pringle promptly returned the favor on a 94 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to give the Hawks a 7-6 lead.
After an untimely defensive off-sides penalty on 4th down that extended South County’s drive, the Hayfield defense held within the Hawks 15 yard line. Halfway through the 1st quarter the Hawks offense lead by Brian Cobbs (SR) at quarterback finally took the field, but failed to gain a 1st down. South County’s next drive ended at the Hayfield 30 yard line after a failed fake punt. Hayfield’s next drive ended on a dropped pass that would have been a 15 yard gain. South County’s high risk high reward offense ripped Hayfield’s secondary for a 55 yard pass to take a 12-7 lead with 0:51 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Hayfield’s next three drives would end in South County territory, including three straight plays within South County’s five yard line. Hayfield’s inability to capitalize on sustained drives would be an unfortunate theme throughout the night. With 2:23 remaining, Hayfield was primed to get the ball back before the half with excellent field position since South County was running plays deep in their own end zone after the previous failed Hawks drive. 2nd and 10 at their own three yard line, South County took advantage of man coverage on the outside for a 97 yard dagger to extend the lead 18-7 before the half.
Although down by 11 points at half, Hayfield showed grit and determination to overcome earlier mistakes and claw their way back into the game to put themselves in a position to win. A switch at halftime moved Cobbs (SR) back to wide receiver and brought in Monty Byers (JR) at quarterback. Hayfield took the opening possession of the second half 80 yards on seven plays with a one yard run by Kylan Booker (SR), to close the gap 14-18. Senior Iliass Majid would recover a South County fumble on their next possession to give the Hawks another drive within Stallion territory. A scrambling Byers (JR) misread the improvised route that a wide open Tim Wiggins (JR) was running and was intercepted. After a defensive stop, Byers (JR) got another opportunity and found Cobbs (SR) on a 10 yard slant to take a 21-18 lead with 3:13 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
South County would respond with a six yard touchdown to retake the lead 24-21 with 10:50 in the 4th quarter. On the next Hawks drive, Byers (JR) would be tackled at the ankles from behind and left the game with an apparent injury. With Cobbs (SR) at wide receiver, this precipitated Sophomore Trevor Gleason to come cold off of the bench. Gleason (SO) completed his first three passes but the drive stalled. This would allow the Stallions to mount an exhausting 76 yard 14 play drive to score again, 31-21 with 4:03 remaining. Two of Hayfield’s top defensive players were inactive for the game which greatly impacted the team’s strength and depth.
Gleason (SO) would march Hayfield down the field capped off by an incredible 16 yard touchdown run by Jevon Pailin (SR) to give the Hawks a chance, down 28-31 with 1:47 remaining. Hayfield’s gamble to kick the ball instead of trying an onside kick turned out in their favor, after South County failed on a 4th and 1 that would have ended the game. With 39 seconds remaining, Gleason’s (SO) first opportunity at a game winning drive would come up short, but the never give up attitude that the Hawks displayed after being down by 11 at half, provides great optimism moving forward.
Next up: @ Robinson (2-2) | Thursday, September 28 | 7:00 pm
Hayfield 28, South County 31
Between the slow start, fumbles, mental mistakes including two ineligible downfield penalties that cost the Hawks passes of 40 yards and a 63 yard touchdown, or the 14 points allowed in the last 1:13 of the game, Hayfield’s 30-24 victory over Fairfax was anything but pretty. Maybe it was the 14 days since Hayfield’s last game. Maybe it was Fairfax digging down deep for their homecoming crowd. Whatever the reason, when another school chooses your game to trot out their pageantry and festivities, athletes have to find that inner motivation to play the villain.
While the box score indicated a much closer game, the result was never really in question. Fairfax attempted a trick play on their first snap with a flea flicker, which was promptly intercepted by Senior Demonte Richardson. After a three-and-out by Hayfield, the Rebels of Fairfax fumbled on their second possession, recovered by Junior linebacker Tyler Brown. It took another stalled drive by each team before Hayfield was able to mount an eight play 71 yard drive capped off by a six yard Monty Byers (JR) run to take the 6-0 lead with 3:41 in the 1st quarter. Hayfield was deficient in attempting two-point conversions all night, going 0-5.
The Hawk’s next possession would end on a botched handoff that set the Rebels up with prime field position. Hayfield’s defense withstood three consecutive Fairfax plays within the red zone but didn’t break, only allowing a 24 yard field goal, their only points of the half. Hayfield responded with a heavy dose of run plays switching between Brian Cobbs (SR) and Josh Nsiah (JR), who found the end zone on a two yard run to take the 12-3 lead.
Fairfax was forced to punt on their next possession after Hayfield’s defense held them to negative yardage on three plays. The momentum was clearly on the Hawk’s side and would almost assuredly drive the ball for another score when the reliable Cobbs (SR) had his pocket picked, for the second fumble of the game. However, the defense wasn’t about to lose their momentum and got the ball back on an interception by Senior Sidkky Idris.
Up only 12-3 with 5:39 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Cobbs (SR) set out to redeem himself by bouncing and juking off defenders down the sideline on a 49 yard pass reception from M. Byers (JR). Cobbs (SR) would also find the Rebel’s blue end zone on a four yard run mid-way through the 3rd quarter to extend the lead to 24-3. The Rebel’s would finally chip their way down the field on a 14 play drive finding the end zone with 1:34 in the 3rd quarter, 24-10. Cobbs (SR) was firmly in control of this game, outpacing Fairfax defenders for a 60 yard touchdown run. Cobbs (SR) would be responsible for three touchdowns and 206 total yards – 128 on the ground, 49 receiving, and 29 in the air.
Down 30-10 with 4:43 to play in the game, Fairfax used their timeouts and took advantage of a poor offensive drive by Hayfield to score twice in the final 1:33. Their last gasp attempt at an onside kick with seven seconds remaining bounced out of bounds, sealing the victory for Hayfield. The series between Hayfield and Fairfax is knotted at three games apiece. The six point win was the closest margin of victory in any of the contests. If Hayfield expects to be competitive in their next game against South County, they’re going to have to play the villain, on their home turf.
Next up: vs. South County (1-2) | Friday, September 22 | 7:00 pm
Hayfield 30, Fairfax 24