LAKIN — The game may have taken longer than normal to play, but it was worth it — at least for the Holcomb Longhorns.
At 4-1, the ‘Horns had just taken out previously undefeated Colby a week ago, and Friday they looked to take out the 5-0 Lakin Broncs. It just took a little longer than planned to get the 21-0 shutout.
After a half-hour delayed start due to a high-wind thunderstorm, Lakin had just punted on a 3-and-out and Holcomb ran just one play before lightning caused another delay, this one for an hour.
But Holcomb came out strong after the second delay, running 10 more plays and scoring on a 12-yard pass to complete its first drive. Trey Gilbert rolled right, then threw back across to Chance Rodriguez on the sideline, and the senior receiver took it in.
Early in the second quarter, Lakin punted to the 1-yard line, but Holcomb, using a combination of runs and throws, drove the ball down to the Lakin six, and appeared ready to score again.
Kaden Tichenor picked up four yards to the two. Clay Michel stopped Reece Morss for a yard loss, and Tichenor ran two more yards, but that was as far as they got.
Lakin had to punt on its next possession, and Holcomb worked with a short field, driving from the Lakin 33 down to the 15 on one play. But Gilbert spiked the ball out of the shotgun formation, causing a loss of down, and two incomplete passes later, the Broncs forced a turnover on downs — and more importantly kept the ’Horns out of the end zone again.
That would be the highlight of Lakin’s night, however.
Holcomb sustained another drive — and made it count this time — starting at its own 31-yard line midway into the third. After a blocking penalty two first downs later, they faced third-and-19, but a Gilbert-to-Carter Blackburn pass got the first down by a nose to keep the drive alive.
Morss punched in Holcomb’s second score with a 1-yard rumble on the 11th play of the drive to give the ‘Horns a 14-0 lead going into the final period
On its next drive, Holcomb got a 33-yard run from Gilbert, and a face mask penalty to get to Lakin’s 13, and three plays later, the senior quarterback ran it in from five yards for the ‘Horns’ final score.
Holcomb combined for 471 yards of offense (241 on the ground, 233 in the air), and the defense limited Lakin to just 29.
Lakin coach Chris Bamberger looked to the defensive play of his team in the first half as the one bright spot among the many negatives.
“If we’re looking for something positive in the game, obviously defensively we had some very key stops,” he said. “I just don’t think offensively we did anything to help them out.”
Holcomb took away what had taken Lakin to its 5-0 start. Credit the Longhorns, Bamberger said.
“They’re a good team. They’re athletic all over the field. They took our game away from us offensively,” he said.
Holcomb coach Kent Teeter said his team’s approach after the halftime break was all about execution.
“The biggest thing we talked to them about was how our defense played very, very well,” he said. “But the one thing we did was let our composure — and our excitement about the game — get us some penalties.”
Holcomb was flagged five times in each half for 75 yards.
But offensively, Holcomb had too many dropped balls in the first half, and Teeter blamed himself for not running the right play up the gut to score from a yard out on their long drive.
“But we got composed, and came out (after halftime) and executed a lot better,” he said. “It’s all execution.”
Teeter knew Lakin had two big chances to score on his defense, both on long pass plays that just missed.
“That would have been big,” he said. “We survived that. We survived that last week, too (against Colby).”
Holcomb focused too much on Lakin’s run game early, and nearly allowed the Broncs to hit for the big plays, and that’s something his team will have to clean up for next week, Teeter said.
Holcomb (5-1) travels to Kingman next week to begin district play.
Lakin (5-1) next travels to Cimarron to start district play, and Bamberger knows his team needs to get back on the winning track.
“We’ve got to learn,” Bamberger said. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, and we’ve got to learn. We have work to do next week.”