By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — Big plays took the chill out of the air on Holcomb's homecoming night, helping the Longhorns take care of conference opponent Colby 35-14.
Holcomb's defense manhandled a struggling Eagles team, keeping Colby winless and propelling the Longhorns to their second straight win, moving to 3-2 on the season.
The Longhorns rang up 230 total yards of offense in the first half alone, and scored all five of their touchdowns in that span, going up 35-6 at halftime.
Meanwhile, Colby could only muster 92 yards in that same time frame, scoring once more with just :18 seconds left in the game.
Holcomb out-gained Colby 290-219, with most of the Eagles' yards coming late in the game.
A game time temperature of 55 degrees dropped to 46 by the end with a strong north wind making life miserable, but for Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson, the win left a warm feeling.
And a series of big plays for Holcomb showed Johnson just how potently his team could strike.
"We got our athletes out in the open, like we want to do, and made some big plays with them," he said.
The Holcomb scoring machine scored often and big in the first half, putting the game away in a hurry.
Heath Tucker hit Corey Roth for an 11-yard pass just five minutes into the contest.
Then, Tucker took the first play from scrimmage on Holcomb's next series 86 yards. The senior quarterback faked everybody on a handoff then ran up the Colby sideline untouched 86 yards for a 14-0 lead.
To cap the opening quarter, Tucker returned a punt 37 yards for a 21-0 lead at the first break.
Colby finally scored, taking the ball 71 yards on 17 plays in almost six minutes. Josh Matchell hit Alex Giersch from 10 yards out after a tip in the end zone.
Holcomb answered on the ensuing series.
On a march kept alive by a pass interference call, Tucker pitched to Roth, who scampered up the Holcomb sideline 34 yards.
And after another Eagle punt, Calen Rupp caught a 46-yard pass from Tucker, setting up a Blake Richmeier's 11-yard run with 1:11 remaining in the half for the 35-6 lead, which turned out to be the final score.
But with the longest scoring drive lasting just five plays, Johnson is concerned about sustaining drives as district play comes in two weeks.
"At some point, we want to hit a big play that we can rip off 20, 30 yards at a time in order to get down," Johnson said. "We want to get yardage in big chunks; that's how we're designed. We don't have big running backs that we can load up in the backfield and pound people."
Getting the ball out on the edges is more his team's style, he said, and that showed in this game, as well as last week's win over Goodland.
Holcomb pulled its main offensive starters after the half. Tucker had 75 yards on five carries, Richmeier 65 on five, and Roth 38 on just three carries.
Rupp took over at quarterback to run the second half. He finished with 42 yards on 15 carries and earned the praise of his coach.
"Anytime you can get a game like this where we felt we were comfortably in the lead at halftime, the best thing we need is varsity reps for Calen," he said.
Playing a winless team after handing Goodland its first loss last week, Johnson was concerned about focus. But his Longhorns rose to the challenge.
"Ever since the Hugoton game (a loss in week 2), that loss was good for us because it's made them focus Monday through Thursday," he said. "It shows a bunch of inexperienced kids how you're supposed to prepare for games on Friday nights. This was a good win for us."
Ulysses comes in Friday for the final GWAC game before district play.
"It's a tough one, just what we want before district play," Johnson said. "We need somebody that's really good. We're really going to see where we are next week."
Holcomb 35, Colby 14
Colby (0-5, 0-4) 0 6 0 8 -- 14
Holcomb (3-2, 2-2) 21 14 0 0 -- 35
H-- Roth 11 pass from Tucker (PAT failed), 7:17
H--Tucker 86 run (Tucker to Rupp)
H--Tucker 37 punt return (Guerrero kick), :00
C--Giersch 10 pass from Matchell (run failed), 6:15
H--Roth 34 run (PAT failed), 3:34
H--Richmeier 11 run (Richmeier run), 1:22
H--Giersch 48 pass from Matchell (Taylor run), :18
Game stats Colby Holcomb
First downs 4 8
Rushing yds 136 222
Passing 5-20 4-8
Passing yds 83 68
Total yds 219 290
Penalties-yds 6-75 10-75
RUSHING--Colby: Taylor 18-69, Pieper 7-27, Giersch 3-5; Richmeier 5-65, Tucker 5-75, Roth 3-38, Rupp 15-42.
PASSING--Colby: Matchell 4-19-83, Molzmeister 0-1-0; Holcomb: Tucker 3-3-64, Rupp 1-5-4.
RECEIVING--Colby: Giersch 4-56, Hartwell 2-25; Holcomb: Rupp 1-41, Roth 1-11.