By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB Cut down on the turnovers and increase the touchdowns.
That will be a major key to success for a Holcomb team looking to rebound from last week's 39-0 loss to Scott City.
They took care of part two, scoring twice. Part one, not so good as they turned the ball over five times.
Holcomb fell to Goodland 38-13 at home Friday night, but eliminate the turnovers and the results could have been different.
Those turnovers, along with special team miscues, cost the Longhorns 32 points. Without those, the game would have been a "dogfight," according to Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson.
Johnson was looking to take steps forward against Goodland in Great West Activities Conference play. After his team's first drive, that step looked like a giant's as the Longhorns drove 68 yards on 13 plays to strike first.
Logan Singhisen faked a handoff, cut up the middle and dove into the endzone to give Holcomb the early lead and the momentum.
Goodland struck back on an 82-yard drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown toss from Reed Bellamy to Brock Wilkens over a leaping Singhisen to score one minute into the second period.
On the ensuing kickoff, the football popped out of Tyler LaSalle's hands on a hard hit and Ruben Lazaro ran it back for a quick score.
Goodland stopped Holcomb on three plays. Then Kelly Pearson took the punt at his own 27-yard line and 73 yards later had Goodland's third touchdown in two minutes.
On the next kickoff, no Holcomb player touched the ball and the Cowboys recovered at the Longhorn 24. But Kyle Walck intercepted a pass at the 16 to stop the drive and the bleeding.
But lightning struck again out of the lockerroom in the third quarter. Starting at their own 20, the Longhorns fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage and Goodland recovered. Two plays later, they made Holcomb pay as Pearson ran in from seven yards out.
Garth Helton recovered the onside kick, and two plays later, Nathan Deeds sprinted 50 yards up the left sideline to give Goodland a 32-6 lead.
But Holcomb didn't fold. From that moment, the Longhorns (0-3) were able to run sustained drives of eight and six plays, looking like the team Johnson was hoping to see.
Holcomb then ran a 67-yard, eight-play drive, ending with a scoring pass from Singhisen to LaSalle wide open in the right corner.
"We talked all week about just beinig able to sustain drives," Johnson said. "We felt we were more aggressive than them on film and we could come out and run some short yardage plays. And that's what they did."
The key to the first scoring drive, Johnson said, was no turnovers and no mental mistakes.
"We looked like a varsity level football team," he said. "The kids were pumped up and executed perfectly."
He saw that same intensity on his team's final scoring drive, too.
But the key to Goodland's success was capitalizing on Holcomb's mistakes.
"We killed ourselves with our turnovers," Johnson said.
But even in that, Johnson took something positive.
"We came off the field on our drives because of turnovers, not because we had to punt. That's a step forward from last week and a big improvement from week one. And that's what I've told the kids. We clean up our special teams mistakes and clean up our turnovers, it's a dogfight," he said.
On paper, Holcomb looked like the dominant team, outgaining Goodland 215-203 in total yards and 14-11 in first downs.
On the field, however, Goodland just got too many "gifts" from the Longhorns.
"Bad things are going to happen because we're young. But how do how we react to bad things?" Johnson said. "I thought we reacted well. Nobody quit tonight, and we were proud to put that drive together at the end."
Goodland (2-1) was coming off a 25-8 loss to Ulysses last week and took advantage of a much younger Holcomb squad to get back on the winning track.
"We knew that this was a young team but a very tough team," Goodland coach Kent Teeter said of Holcomb. "They play hard."
The first half was all about Holcomb's mistakes and Goodland's special teams, Teeter added.
"It would have been a heck of a ballgame if they hadn't had all those turnovers," Teeter said.
Goodland (2-1) 0 19 13 6 38
Holcomb (0-3) 6 0 0 7 -- 13
H Singhisen 4 run (kick failed)
G Wilkens 25 pass from Bellamy (run failed)
G Lazaro 24 fumble return (run failed)
G Pearson 73 punt return (DeLaRosa kick)
G Pearson 7 run (DeLaRosa kick)
G Deeds 50 run (run failed)
H LaSalle 18 pass from Singhisen (Spangler kick)
G Taylor 1 run (kick failed)
Rushing G: Bellamy 12-44, Pearson 4-37, Oharah 8-24, Deeds 7-23, Taylor 5-14, Ruhs 3-5; H: Munoz 12-52, Singhisen 15-37, Walck 5-35, Homer 7-31, Prieto 1-3.
Passing G: Bellamy 7-14-1-56; H: Singhisen 7-13-2 61.
Receiving G: Wilkns 2-34, Pearson 1-16, Helton 1-11, Cowan 1-7; H: Walck 4-38, LaSalle 1-18, Munoz 1-5.