By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — When Holcomb plays Lakin, it doesn’t matter what the records are (both teams were 1-4) or that the two were in different leagues for the first time in recent memory.
What mattered was that this was a rivalry game.
And this time it was Holcomb’s turn to rule as they defeated the Broncs 28-22.
And for Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson, it was a perfect time to see his Longhorns execute a nearly perfect first half and overcome adversity in the second to gain momentum as they head into district play.
”We came out in the first half and did exactly what I thought we could do-- or what I thought we should do: We finally put a first half together, something we haven’t done,” Johnson said. “We threw the ball well. We executed well.”
Holcomb’s first half consisted of three touchdown throws from senior quarterback Logan Singhisen, two to Andrew Homer and one to Kyle Walck.
In fact, Singhisen was 7-of-12 in passing for 88 yards in the first half and rushed for 65 more.
The Longhorn defense rose to the challenge too, holding Lakin to only three plays that gained over seven yards, intercepting a pass, and recovering a fumbled punt return that led to a touchdown.
About as good a half as Johnson could have hoped for, but not quite perfect.
Lakin got an 80-yard touchdown return from Alex Jones on the kickoff after Holcomb’s first score and took an 8-7 lead.
Then Jones scored again in the second quarter on a 14-yard run, knocking over the pylon to tie the game.
But the momentum was with Singhisen and the Longhorns as they looked in sync all half long.
The near-perfect half reached its zenith after Jones fumbled and lost a punt return and Holcomb had the ball at Lakin’s 33-yard line with just 45 seconds to play.
Singhisen hit Walck for 12 yards, Homer for 13, then once more to Walck over the top for a wide open run to the end zone. It turned out be gutsy play from Singhisen, who injured an ankle on the series before that.
After trying to play the first series after halftime, he was forced to end his night. But sophomore backup Tyler LaSalle stepped in to run the offense, and it was his 39-yard touchdown pass to freshman Heath Tucker that proved to be the game winner.
LaSalle launched a perfect spiral over the top of the defense up the right side and Tucker scored untouched at the 1:53 mark.
It was the cushion the Longhorns needed because Lakin came back in the fourth quarter.
Reno Armstrong’s fumble recovery to start the fourth gave Lakin the ball. An interference call and a Jones 29-yard scramble set up Jones’ seven-yard touchdown run and the Broncs closed the gap to 28-22.
Jose Munoz’s punt after the next series set the Broncs back at their own 13, and LaSalle’s tackle for a loss and Max Ramsey’s stop forced a punt.
Lakin got the ball back with 2:35 to go at its own 24. Then the Holcomb defense stepped up one last time, allowing one yard on a pass play, a yard loss on the next play, and an 11-yard loss on the next. Lakin’s pass on the final play was well short, and Holcomb ran out the clock.
Johnson was not surprised that LaSalle played a good half in a critical relief role.
“He did a great job,” he said. “We’ve been working a lot on running the option all week. He ran things well. He did exactly what we wanted to see from him.”
And he had nothing but praise for his defense, especially late in the game.
“They held on. They played hard. And they played with heart,” he said.
After struggling at the beginning of the season, Johnson said that two wins in a row is exactly what the coach ordered since the Longhorns begin district play next week.
“The ultimate goal is you have to get into the state playoffs. It’s going to be tough with what we have coming up,” he said. “We’re excited and we’ve got some confidence going in.”
For Lakin head coach Kenny Waechter, this was another tough loss to follow, especially after last week’s overtime loss to Goodland.
The combination of Singhisen playing his best game thus far and the Holcomb attitude were the two keys to the Longhorn win, Waechter said.
“They came out wanting to win this game, they played hard, and they did enough to win it,” Waechter said of Holcomb. “We made some mistakes and they took advantage of them. That was the ballgame.”
Consecutive tough losses heading into district play makes the next week tougher, he added.
“We’ve got to get our momentum back. Right now we’re reeling. We’ve just got to get ready to play,” Waechter said. “We have to get our act together and play well.”
Lakin (1-5) 8 6 0 8 — 22
Holcomb (2-4) 14 7 7 0 — 28
H — Homer 6 pass from Singhisen (Estrada kick)
L — Jones 80 kickoff return (Jones run)
H — Homer 22 pass from Singhisen (Estrada kick)
L — Jones 14 run (PAT failed)
H — Walck 9 pass from Singhisen (Estrada kick)
H — Tucker 39 pass from LaSalle (Estrada kick)
L — Jones 7 run (Armstrong pass)
First downs 8 10
Rushes-yards 48-139 33-118
Passing 48 106
Comp-Att-Int 1-3-1 7-16-0
Return Yards 122 107
Punts-Avg. 4-22.3 6-34
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-25 5-35
Rushing — L: Jones 19-85, Miller 9-22, McCombs 7-19, Geubelle 7-18, Adams 6-9. H: Singhisen 11-65, Walck 10-50, Munoz 7-13, Homer 1-4.
Passing — L: Jones 1-1-0 28, Miller 0-2-1 0; H: Singhisen 6-13-0-67, LaSalle 1-3-0 39.
Receiving — L: Armstrong 1-28; H: Homer 3-43, Tucker 1-39, Walck 3-16.