By Jason Galvin
It wasn’t just another Saturday for the Santa Clarita Skyhawks players. For a group of individuals who had not won a football game in over a year, it was a day of celebration.
The Santa Clarita Skyhawks won their debut game on Saturday, defeating the Beach Cities All-Americans, 20-12, in a game that had its share of twists and turns.
The Skyhawks shot out of the gate like a canon, with running back Sean MacNeil going more than 60 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the game. After a missed extra point, the defense did not allow a first down in the first quarter of the game, and MacNeil scored his second touchdown after quarterback Rick Conti found former College of the Canyons wide receive Ohre Kilpatrick inside the 10 yard line on the Skyhawks second drive.
MacNeil, another local product, finished with over 100 yards rushing and a pair of scores.
The Skyhawks took a 20-0 lead into the second quarter when former Valencia Viking Jake Berend took an interception 45 yards down the sideline, weaving his way into the end zone.
The All-Americans added a touchdown before the end of the first half, and the Skyhawks took a 20-6 lead into halftime after the extra point attempt failed.
The second half was sloppy for both teams, with Conti throwing a pair of interceptions and fumbling. MacNeil also fumbled, but the Skyhawks got the ball back on the next play after Randy Rodi jumped on a bad snap. The All-Americans added a touchdown with under a minute to play in the game, but it wasn’t enough, as backup quarterback Tim Brandon came in and took a knee, giving several players their first win in over a year.
The win felt good for Skyhawks Head Coach Jamil Antoine, but he says the team still has a lot of room for improvement, “We just need to learn how to finish games. We jumped out to a great start, but we didn’t finish. It was still a successful day for the Skyhawks, and we brought a lot of awareness to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation.”
The Skyhawks are a non-profit team benefiting the Michael Hoefflin Children’s Cancer Foundation. Several representatives were on hand as the Skyhawks presented the Michael Hoefflin Foundation with a box full of stuffed animals from a recent toy drive the team put on. A portion of the proceeds from the game will also be donated to the Foundation.
After the game, Jeffrey Shapiro, Executive Director of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, told the team they “represented the city and the foundation well…you guys brought hope to the kids we help by winning today.”
For more information on the Santa Clarita Skyhawks, visit www.skyhawkfootball.org.
For more on the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, please visit www.MHF.org.
Photo Courtesy: JB Sports Photography