By KEVIN THOMPSON
SUBLETTE — If Jerry Johnson looked exhausted and exuberant at the same time, you can't blame him.
After all, his young Holcomb Longhorn squad had just pulled off a 12-6 overtime win on the road, that on the heels of being shut out at home the previous week.
Coach Johnson said he saw his team grow up tonight.
"I'm excited. We played a tough ball game that was up and down. We looked bad, we looked good for four quarters and then we finish it off with an overtime victory," he said.
Levi Koehn scored from three yards out on their first overtime drive to give the Longhorns the win.
That followed an impressive defensive stop against the Larks on the first overtime drive.
"You can't ask for anything better from the kids, especially young kids," Johnson said. "This was a great game to teach them how to deal with perseverance, having Sublette score late but coming back and winning the game in overtime."
The defense was the key to the win, Johnson said. After giving up 30 points to Hoisington last week, the young Longhorns were geared up early against a team that had scored 26 points last week.
The defense stopped the Larks on their second drive, a 14-play series that started at Sublette's 34. Two huge tackles on second and fourth downs by Trey DelaRosa stopped the Larks at the eight for stop No. 1.
On the next series, Sublette was knocking once again. With first-and-goal from the seven, Holcomb stopped quarterback Brandon Stokes three straight times and forced a bad pass to stymie the Larks again.
In the third quarter, DelaRosa came up big again, this time returning an interception 18 yards.
Then the Holcomb offense took over. Issac Gonzalez carried three times to the 13-yard line, then Koehn scored on the next play straight up the middle for the game's first score.
The Longhorn defense shut out Sublette until late in the fourth quarter. The Larks ran a nine-play drive capped off by a 14-yard run by Mason Hibbard. He found the middle blocked, so he cut right, avoided one tackle, then dove in for the score.
A fumble on the extra-point prevented the go-ahead score, though, and Holcomb took care of the rest.
The first half of the game, the offense stalled for Holcomb but they changed that after halftime.
"We shot ourselves in the foot so many times in that first half just by not getting the snap and fumbling the ball. We looked young again. In the second half you could see they started to pick it up. That was a huge game not just for the win but that our kids stepped it up a level and became better on the field," Johnson said.
Holcomb was ready for Sublette's speed, one of the keys to their win, Johnson said.
"Sublette's got tons of speed. It showed how well our defense played to be able to keep them out of the end zone. We made some adjustments the second half and it worked really well for us," he said.
For Sublette coach Steve Simpson the loss was hard to take, especially after his team's performance last week.
"It was just like we put it on a silver platter and said 'Here you go,'" Simpson said. "We just didn't execute. Two times down in the first half and we don't score. The game shouldn't have even been a contest."
Holcomb 12, Sublette 6
Holcomb 0 0 6 0 6 -- 12
Sublette 0 0 0 6 0 -- 6
HOL — Levi Koehn 13 run (kick failed), 5:07
SUB — Mason Hibbard 14 run (kick failed) 4:34
HOL — Koehn 3 run
First downs 13 9
Total Net Yards 233 178
Rushes-yards 51-152 34-145
Passing 81 33
Comp-Att-Int 9-18-1 3-8-2
Punts 3-33 5-42
Fumbles-Lost 4-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 1-5 4-29
RUSHING--Holcomb: Gonzalez 5-51, DelaRosa 8-47, Koehn 11-33, Singhisen 10-14. Sublette: Hibbard 21-92, Stokes 19-38, Williams 10-19, Leverett 1-3.
PASSING--Holcomb: Singhisen 3-8-2-33. Sublette: Stokes 8-17-1-67, Williams 1-1-0-14.
RECEIVING--Holcomb: Walck 1-15, Koehn 1-14, DelaRosa 1-4. Sublette: Martinez 1-20, Sabata 2-17, Stokes 1-14, Hibbard 2-2.