The Holcomb Longhorns returned to 3A football in a big way, defeating the Goodland Cowboys, 34-12, in Goodland Friday night to kick off the 2018 season.
“It was the first game of the season, but I'm super happy that we were able to come up with a big win,” head football coach Kent Teeter said of his team performance on Friday. “With it being our first game with a young team, we do get to learn a lot from our mistakes and we'll take that and learn from them.”
Holcomb (1-0) started the game right where the Longhorns left off last season in the state title game. After stopping Goodland on a three-and-out, a 19-yard sweep run from senior tight end River Amos set up senior running back Jayson Lambert to score the first touchdown of the game.
Lambert’s 3-yard run gave Holcomb a 7-0 lead and the first touchdown of the season. That first drive covered 67 yards.
On the following kick off, Goodland (0-1) proceed to fumble the kick, which was recovered by the Longhorns on the Cowboy 28-yard line. Unfortunately for Holcomb, those mistakes Teeter referred to were present during the drives after the first touchdown.
The Longhorns could not capitalize on their second possession and turned it over on downs. On the following drive, Holcomb’s senior quarterback Peyton Ortner’s was intercepted, which halted their drive on the Goodland 6-yard line.
“We did have a few scoring opportunities, and we did not take advantage of those,” Teeter said of his offense’s early struggles. “We got in our own way and we weren't able to capitalize on good field position.”
Teeter was able to settle down his team and the Longhorns scored their second touchdown of the game when Ortner broke for a 33-yard touchdown run. Ortner’s run completed a 49 yard, four-play drive, which gave a Holcomb a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
Goodland got on the board before halftime when its quarterback connected with senior receiver Tayton Weeter for a 25-yard touchdown pass, ending a 10 play, 65-yard drive.
Teeter and Longhorns were quite aware of how the Cowboys came back in last year’s game, after being down 14-0 at half but tying it in the second half.
"We knew we had to answer to avoid the same outcome from last year," Teeter said. "This year, however, when they scored we came up with an answer every time.
"When they scored before half, we came back and scored. We got the ball back at half and scored again. We had an answer for them.”
Defensively, the Longhorns had a solid showing. Besides two big plays that resulted in the two Cowboy touchdowns, Holcomb’s defense kept Goodland in check.
“The defense played well for most of the night, minus for two plays — that second play is on me though. I dialed up a blitz and left a man uncovered and that was my fault,” Teeter said.
Goodland tried to catch Holcomb off guard by starting the second half with an onside kick, but the Longhorns recovered. It didn't take long for Holcomb to add on to their lead in the second half, when Ortner ran for a 11-yard touchdown, his second touchdown of the game.
And the Longhorns were off and running again.
“We didn't punt all night, and didn't have very many penalties, but we really did stop ourselves from scoring on a few occasions," Teeter said. "We just have to learn to be more consistent."
The Scott City Beavers will travel to Holcomb Friday, in an always hotly contested GWAC contest. Kickoff for that game is set for 7 p.m. at Longhorn Stadium.