By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB - Coaches like nothing more than defenses that throw shutouts. It just makes their job easier.
Ask Holcomb's Jerry Johnson, whose defense came up big in the first half for the second straight week on its way to a 54-0 victory over Southwestern Heights (1-4) on homecoming night.
And it's time the defense gets some top billing, he said, because despite the 54 points, he knows the offense struggled.
"Defense came up big again," he said. "I don't know how many turnovers they caused (seven), but they were just flying around and hitting some people. They looked good again."
That defense only allowed 25 total rushing yards on 27 carries, caused four fumbles and intercepted three passes.
The defense was also what set the tone for the game, early on.
In the first half, Holcomb recovered a fumble, picked off three Jeffrey Dutton passes, and forced a turnover on downs.
Four of those turnovers led to touchdowns and one stopped a drive.
And for the first 22 minutes, the Longhorns held Heights to just seven total yards of offense.
Then, the Longhorns' offense hit for high numbers once again, despite not firing on all cylinders. Heath Tucker scored first on a 22-yard run. Tyler LaSalle hit Andrew Homer twice for scores, ran for one, and hit Jesse Estrada for another.
In all, Holcomb (4-1) amassed 125 yards on the ground and 130 in the air.
All of which came in the first half.
Jose Munoz scored in the third quarter, then it was Jeremy Cox and Corey Roth who scored in the fourth.
But no doubt about it, the defense was the star of this show.
"Our defense carried our offense," Johnson said. "This was, by far, the worst game (offensively) we've played since the Scott City game (a week two, 50-0 loss).
"It's like taking a step backward when they need to be going forward. The first half exposed bad reads on passes, poor blocking and low intensity. That's not a characteristic of the Longhorns' offense and that is something that will have to change heading into district play in two weeks."
Homer said the defense is an older, more experienced group than in the past, and that has been a key to this year's success.
"Nobody expected Holcomb to have speed this year. We're never that team that has speed," he said. "But we do."
Aaron Hernandez, who had two tackles for losses, said the key was aggressiveness.
"This year, everybody's flying to the ball," he said. "Every time they run the ball, you see eight jerseys flying at it. That really helps."
And they're playing with something to prove, their coach said.
"They're playing with a chip on their shoulder," Johnson said. "The last couple years we've given up some big points. Now we're saying we can play with you even though we're not very big. We fly around and we like to hit people."
Holcomb will next travel to Lakin on Friday while Southwestern Heights will travel to Hugoton, who lost to Scott City.
Holcomb 54, SWH 0
SWH 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Holcomb 14 21 7 12 -- 54
H--Tucker 22 run (Estrada kick), 7:20
H--Homer 23 pass from LaSalle (Estrada kick), 6:18
H--Estrada 22 pass from LaSalle (Estrada kick), 10:39
H--LaSalle 1 run (Estrada kick), 3:45
H--Homer 12 pass from LaSalle (Estrada kick), 1:30
H--Hernandez 9 run (Estrada kick), 9:17
H--Cox 3 pass from Roth (run failed), 6:35
H--Roth 4 run (pass failed), 3:27
Rushing-yds 41-204 27-25
Passing-yards 11-140 6-100
Total yards 344 125
Passing 11-19 6-22
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-4
Turnovers 3 7
Penalties-yds 7-55 6-27
RUSHING — Holcomb: Tucker 2-55, LaSalle 10-43, Gilbert 4-19, Hernandez 5-33, Munoz 6-25, Roth 10-22, Richmeier 2-7; SWH: Johnsrud 11-5, Dutton 11-13, Chavez 2-1, Martinez 3-2.
PASSING — Holcomb: LaSalle 10-15-2-130, Roth 1-4-0-10; SWH: Dutton 6-22-3-100.
RECEIVING — Holcomb: Gilbert 3-10, Homer 5-73, Hernandez 1-35, Estrada 1-22, Tucker 1-20, Richmeier 1-10, Cox 1-3; SWH: Johnsrud 2-10, Adame 2-33, Martinez 3-47.