Brambleton, VA (August 29, 2019) - A spectacular late August night was the setting for the first ever home football game for the Independence Tigers. Conditions were perfect and everything in the stadium pulsed with excitement including the visiting Skyline Hawks. The home bleachers were literally packed with students, families, fans and musicians all decked out in the school colors of red, white and blue.
Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.
Without senior leadership, or any seniors at all for that matter, you might expect a new team to get thumped pretty hard by a more experienced opponent. And that's the way the game started. Despite the home side enthusiasm and the hyped up energy on the field, the Hawks scored three unanswered first quarter touchdowns. Skyline took the opening drive in for a score and then earned short fields with an interception and a fumble recovery on the first two Tiger possessions. Marion Haley was on the receiving end of the first and third touchdowns for the Hawks.
In the second quarter, the Tigers finally began to put offense together. Behind two running touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Brian Courtney, Independence established a potent ground game and matched Skyline, 14-14, in the period.
The Hawks maintained that twenty-point margin well into the third period via a powerful rushing attack of their own fueled by the indestructible Darion Santucci. Another Haley touchdown late in the third made it 46-20, and the game looked to be an easy win for Skyline.
And that's when the Tigers displayed a resilience they are going to need throughout this young season. Motivated by incredible persistence and three more touchdowns from Courtney, Independence completed a long sideline pass to Josh Hand that suddenly made it relatively close at 53-42. Courtney was so exhausted from his night that he had to be helped off the field after his fifth score, a sight that will go down in the record books for the new school.
But with only a few minutes left, the Hawks relied on their ground game to run the remaining time off the clock and close out the game. It will go down as a win for Skyline, and a loss for Independence, but it will be remembered as a great night by everyone there.
Final Score: Skyline 18 - Independence