By KEVIN THOMPSON
Holcomb bounced back from last week’s last-second loss to Scott City to beat another conference rival, the Goodland Cowboys, on the road Friday night 34-12 in a game delayed for 80 minutes by rain.
But the wait was worth it for Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson, who saw his Longhorns jump out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter then put the game away in the final six minutes in handing Goodland its first loss of the season.
Heath Tucker scored twice in the opening period on runs of 1 and 56 yards.
Goodland closed the gap to 14-6 going into halftime on a Trey Teeter run, but Holcomb struck again the third when Tucker hit Dalton Gottschalk for a three-yard pass set up by a 60-yarder on the previous play to Calen Rupp, a short pass with Rupp running most of the distance up the sideline to set up the score.
Tucker rewarded Rupp in the fourth period with a 53-yard scoring strike.
The Longhorns sealed the win when freshman Dillon Williams intercepted a Teeter pass and took it back 35 yards for another score.
The long delayed happened just four minutes into the game, but the Longhorns relaxed in the school gym during that time and treated it as though they had just got off the bus. While tough on high school kids, the refocusing seemed to work, Johnson said.
“What I told the team before this game is, there’s a chance there’s going to be a delay, and then they’re going to come back out and then you might have go back in and come back out,” Johnson said. “Who the team is who is more mentally tough--that’s what tonight came down to.”
Bad things happen when the ball and field get wet, he added, and he said his Longhorn squad handled the adversity well enough to win, turning bad things into positives.
Johnson said they came in with a different game plan than in previous games, jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and tighten up coverage deep to limit the passing prowess of Teeter, who was just 13-of-33 for 175 yards with two interceptions.
“We probably gave up more yards on the run. But we knew we were out-manned in the box, but we also knew their strength was passing,” he said.
The defense of the Cowboys was also set up to either stop Holcomb or give up big plays, and that played out as they thought, Johnson said.
“If you can break through that first line on the running game, you can usually get by them. The passing game, they’re so tight they want to get pressure to you. If you can have time to get back in the pocket and put some balls up, you have a chance to make some big plays.”
The Tucker-Rupp connection proved that, as the duo teamed up three times for 158 yards.
On their touchdown play late, Rupp got behind the defense when Tucker looked as though he was going to run.
Holcomb (2-2, 1-2) will now face Colby at home.
Holcomb 14 0 6 4 — 34
Goodland 0 6 6 0 — 12
H—Tucker 1 run (Tucker kick)
H—Tucker 56 run (run failed)
G—Teeter pass (run failed)
H—Tucker 3 pass to Gottschalk (PAT failed)
G—Teeter run (run failed)
H—Tucker 53 pass to Calen Rupp (Tucker kick)
H—Williams 35 interception return (Tucker kick)
RUSHING—Holcomb, Tucker 20-43, Roth 3-16, Richmeier 11-34; Goodland: Hernandez 14-73, Teeter 13-46.
PASSING—Holcomb, Tucker 8-16-260; Goodland: Teeter 13-33-175.
RECEIVING—Holcomb: Calen Rupp 3-158; Goodland: Trachsel 5-95.