2020 Football Playoffs Holton vs. Baldwin
Within a couple of minutes of play against Baldwin, the Holton Wildcats had all the points they would need for their eighth win in nine games.
On the opening kick off, Holton sophomore Matt Lierz fielded the kick at Holton’s 25-yard line and returned it all the way 75 yards for a touchdown.
Lierz also made the point-after kick to make the score 7-0 and then teed up the football and kicked off to the visiting Baldwin Bulldogs.
There was no return on the kick off and three plays later, Lierz intercepted a Bulldog pass at midfield.
The impressive start for the Wildcats got better after that. On second down from scrimmage, Holton senior Canon Karn gained 13 yards. That play was followed by a 35-yard TD run by Holton senior Addison Hundley up the middle of the line. Hundley went untouched on that play. Lierz kicked the PAT and the Wildcats took a quick 14-0 lead.
Following the ensuring kick off, the Bulldogs showed some offensive spark with a 19-yard pass from senior quarterback Quinton Johns to senior Teagan Trout.
Soon, however, the Bulldogs faced a fourth down and 10 yards to go situation. They faked the punt and tried to pass for a first down but it was incomplete with Holton taking over possession of the football at midfield.
The Wildcats went to work again with their ground game and eight plays and three first downs later, Holton senior Konnor Tannahill scored a touchdown from two yards out and Lierz kicked the PAT. With 6:58 still left in the first quarter, the Wildcats led 21-0.
The Bulldogs after that were able to move the football on a 13-yard QB keeper and a combination of short passes and sweeps. Leading rusher Adam Callahan then picked up the team’s third straight first down on a fourth down and one desperation dive forward. A 39-yard field goal attempt by Bulldog senior Shane Doty was no good, leaving the score at 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Wildcats capped a five-play drive on a 10-yard TD run by Karn at the 10:30 mark. Karn surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the season at about that time. Lierz kicked the PAT (his 32nd of 39 attempts this season) to make the score 28-0. On this drive, Hundley had a 22-yard gain and an 8-yard gain.
On their next possession, the Bulldogs were forced to punt on fourth down, setting up the Wildcats at their own 23-yard line.
From there, a six-yard gain by Karn was followed by a 71-yard TD dash by sophomore Jace Boswell. The PAT by Lierz was good, making the score 35-0 at the 8:45 mark.
For the Bulldogs, on their next drive, Doty gained 10 yards on a sweep and QB Johns connected with teammate Cole Mahaffey for a 26-yard gain.
Four plays later, however, the Wildcats stopped the Bulldogs short on a fourth down and one-yard to go situation with Tannahill, Hundley and Boswell credited with the big stop at the 5:56 mark.
After Hundley rushed for five and then seven yards, Tannahill busted loose for a 39-yard TD run, breaking some tackles along the way. The Lierz PAT was good again, making the score 42-0 with 5:04 still left in the second quarter.
As they had earlier, the Bulldogs continued to move the football when they had it on nine-yard and 15-yard pass receptions. QB Johns gained 13 yards on a keeper, advancing the football to the Holton 37-yard line.
With 2:50 left in the second quarter, junior Jake Zeller intercepted a Bulldog pass from his safety position and returned it about 20 yards to the Holton 40.
The Wildcats controlled the football the rest of the second quarter, running 10 plays and scoring a touchdown with 16 seconds left on the clock on a two-yard pass from QB Lierz to junior Reese Holaday. The PAT by Lierz was good and at halftime Holton held a 49-0 lead.
The Wildcats rushed the football about 338 yards on 33 carries in the first half while Baldwin’s QB Johns completed 12 of 25 passes in the first half for 101 yards.
With a running clock in the second half due to the lopsided score, the rest of the game wound down quickly. At the end of three quarters, Holton still led 49-0.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Baldwin scored a TD on a six-yard pass and senior Toby Thomas was successful on a two-point conversion run.
The Wildcat JV players and freshman players all got playing time in the second half. Holton improved to 8-1 and Baldwin concluded its season 3-5.
Holton finished with 407 yards rushing on 48 carries. Hundley had 110 on 11 carries, Karn 74 on 10, Tannahill 71 on nine and Boswell 71 on one. Baldwin finished with 105 yards rushing on 29 carries and 145 yards on 145 yards passing on 15 of 32 pass receptions.
Holton was penalized four times for 37 yards and Baldwin was penalized three times for 30 yards. Leading in defensive points for Holton was Karn (15), followed by junior Jace Hallauer (14), Lierz (12), Tannahill (12) and junior Lucas Adcock (11).
Holton head coach Brooks Barta had a lot of good things to say about the Wildcats after the game.
“We were very happy with the way we played the first half and much happier with the way the JV came out and played the second half of the game,’’ coach Barta said. “Our kids have done a good job in practice. I think we are growing in our understanding of the game and our concepts and it is helping us play faster. ‘’