Holton football takes control early, starts district play with a win over Jeff West
While the Holton football team started competition in a new district on Friday, the results didn’t look any different than they have the past couple of years.
The Wildcats got out to a big lead early and made the plays when needed to earn a comfortable 38-6 win over new district foe Jeff West, taking the first step necessary to get back in the playoffs.
“It’s good to be in first in the district. We felt that was important,” HHS coach Brooks Barta said. “I thought Jeff West executed well and we did a nice job countering what they did.”
Holton may have been forced to punt early, but the Wildcats quickly recovered, forcing a fumble on defense that linebacker Mason Barta recovered. The Wildcats then wasted no time on offense as Lucas Lovvorn scored a 44-yard touchdown on the very next play to put HHS up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Jeff West recovered from that fumble and put together a balanced drive, mixing in equal amounts of the running and passing game, that eventually led to a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jacob Dickey to Grady Middendorf to start the second quarter.
The corner route the Tigers scored on was something the Holton defense was prepared for, Barta said, but the other combined routes on the play threw the Wildcats off slightly, though the coach said that was the unit’s one hiccup of the night.
“Other than that one play, I thought we played really well the rest of the game. I’m not sure they had a play over maybe 10 yards the whole rest of the game,” Barta said.
To compound the efforts of the defense, the Wildcat offense started rolling as they picked up some yards through the air following the Tigers’ score. Trey Tanking had a pair of 30-yard passes that set up the Wildcats next two scores, a one-yard touchdown run by Luis Butto and a 15-yard score from Indie Allen.
“Trey made nice throws on both of those and put it right in the pocket and we know we have guys who can catch it,” Barta said.
Following that, the HHS defense forced another turnover as Justin Rieschick intercepted a pass to give the Wildcats another chance to add to their lead before halftime. Time ticked away and HHS couldn’t quite punch it in, instead settling for a 22-yard field goal from Arturo Reveles to put the team up 24-6 at the break.
Barta said the Holton special teams were strong all around, noting Reveles in particular continues to get more consistent in his first year kicking for the team and helping fill the hole HHS had to plug at the start of the year following the loss of All-League kicker Brenden Hampton.
After halftime, Jeff West put together another long, methodical drive, one that Barta said was fun to watch with both units playing well. The Holton defense eventually won out, though, forcing a turnover on downs in a drive that seemed to do the Tigers more harm than good, especially considering what the Holton offense did immediately after that.
The Wildcats gambled and converted a short fourth-down play in their own territory before proceeding to one-up Jeff West with their own long, methodical drive (17 plays, seven minutes and 40 seconds) that ended with a short touchdown run by Tanking.
Tanking was the fourth Holton player to score in the game, highlighting the depth of playmakers the Wildcats have, though Barta noted it’s not hard getting them to function as a cohesive unit.
“It’s more about executing what we think we can do and what they’re giving us,” Barta said. “Each one of those guys has their own set of skills. We have guys who can score from everywhere and get tough yards from everywhere.”
“They threw some different things at us defensively and we weren’t perfect, but we did a good enough job scratching out first downs and gave ourselves opportunities to make big plays,” Barta added.
One big play on defense ended it, as the teams traded fruitless drives before Rieschick delivered the final blow, picking off his second pass of the night and returning it 41 yards to the end zone with 30 seconds left in the game to secure Holton’s 38-6 victory to start district play.
As expected, Barta said he believed his team got Jeff West’s best shot and the Wildcats played well in return. He said it was a good, physical game that ended in the ideal outcome for Holton, which maintained its team health and came out an improved squad.
That is important, Barta said, because the Wildcats (6-1) will now have to try and slow down the high-flying offense of Perry-Lecompton (averaging 46 points in its last four games) in its next district game, which will be at 7 p.m. in Perry this coming Friday.
Oct. 17, 2014
Holton: 61 plays, 346 total yards, zero turnovers and eight penalties for 70 yards.
Jeff West: 40 plays, 130 total yards, three turnovers and three penalties for 15 yards.
Rushing: HHS- Allen (14-87-1 TD), Lovvorn (11-75-1 TD), Butto (10-67-1 TD), Tanking (7-22-1 TD), Pool (2-20), Barta (7-19), Wright (1-8), Booth (1-4), McClintock (1-3), Rieschick (3-(-12)).
Passing: HHS- Tanking (2-4-70).
Receiving: HHS- Bergsten (1-34), Brandt (1-36).
Defense: Rieschick (7 tackles, 2 INTs, defensive TD), Barta (7 tackles, fumble recovery, blocked kick), Allen (7 tackles), Martin (2 tackles, TFL, pass deflection), Booth (6 tackles), Lovvorn (5 tackles), Frakes (2 tackles, forced fumble), Coufal (3 tackles, 1 TFL).