|Huskies win, Dragons prepare for final home game of year|
|Written by Chris Lee|
For the second consecutive week, the Holyoke Dragon football team traveled out of town to face another tough conference opponent. This time it was the Highland Huskies. The Dragons were able to move the ball at times but drives stalled and Highland won the game 45-6.
Huskies shut down Holyoke offense
Highland won the toss and elected to take the opening kickoff. The Huskies began at their own 49-yard line and moved the ball down inside Dragon territory on a couple of runs. Highland found success through the air connecting for a 20-yard pass moving into the redzone. A holding call moved them back but it didn’t matter as three plays later their running back found the end zone on an 18-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good and Highland held the early 6-0 lead.
Holyoke’s first possession looked very promising as freshman running back Brett Cumming had runs of three, four, eight and nine yards in a drive that began at their own 24-yard line and moved to midfield. However, the drive stalled after a run was snuffed out for a loss and a pass fell incomplete.
The Dragon defense stepped up on Highland’s next drive. The Holyoke punt pinned the Huskies down at their own 10-yard line. After a recovered fumble at their own five, Highland moved the ball up the field into Dragon territory. On a fourth-and-four from the Holyoke 34-yard line, the Dragon defense stiffened forcing the turnover on downs.
Holyoke began their first drive of the half at the 29-yard line. Logan Krueger found Kyle Carper for a pass to open up the drive. Runs by Krueger and Cumming moved the ball to the 43 and gave the Dragons a first down. A couple of incomplete passes and a stopped run ended the drive.
Highland wasted no time. With 7:41 left in the half, the quarterback broke loose for a 36-yard touchdown run extending the Huskies lead, 13-0.
It wouldn’t be long before Highland found the end zone again. On the ensuing kickoff, Highland was able to force a fumble and recover it at the Dragon 34-yard line. Three plays later, they found the end zone. The extra point was no good as the snap flew over the holder’s head leaving the scoreboard reading 19-0.
Carper fielded the kickoff at the 2-yard line and returned it out to the 35 giving Holyoke nice field position. Krueger completed a nice pass to Carper for a gain of 11 yards and the first down. The momentum wasn’t enough as the Highland defense stood tall and forced the Dragons to punt with 3:54 left in the half.
The teams traded the next two possessions after each went three and out. With just over two minutes left on the clock, Highland began a drive in Dragon territory and was able to move down the field. With 19 seconds left on the clock, the Huskies punched in another touchdown taking the 26-0 lead.
Holyoke was able to get another chance before halftime. Carper returned the kickoff to the 33-yard line but with only seconds left, the clock ran out on the first play of the drive.
Cumming took the opening kickoff of the second half from the end zone to the 33-yard line. Krueger connected with Carper on the first play of the drive for seven yards followed by an offside penalty on Highland giving the Dragons a first down. Jaydin Goldenstein and Cumming each had short runs before an incomplete pass ended the drive.
Highland began deep in their own territory at the 13 after an illegal block in the back was called on the punt return. It didn’t matter as the quarterback took the first play 28 yards up the field. They would sustain a long drive eventually finding the end zone for a 33-0 lead with 3:55 left in the third.
The Dragons took over at their 26 after the kickoff. On the first play of the drive, pass interference was called on Highland giving Holyoke great field position at their own 41-yard line. Krueger completed passes to Ryan Baumgartner for 10 yards and a long one to Carper who broke three tackles on his way to a 20-yard gain. With the ball at the Huskies’ 28, the snap from center flew over the head of Krueger who fell on it for a loss. On second and long, Krueger found Baumgartner for a 23-yard gain down to the 17. Three plays later the Holyoke pass was intercepted ending the hopes on the Dragon sideline.
Highland got four plays in before the end of the third quarter and three plays into the fourth they scored another touchdown. The extra point was no good and they led 39-0.
Holyoke got some momentum after Cumming’s 28-yard kickoff return and began their next drive at the 35. Krueger had a nice drive with completions to Baumgartner for gains of eight, nine and eight yards before hitting Cumming on a screen pass for a gain of 28 moving the ball down to the Highland 28. He then hit Baumgartner and Carper for completions before finding Cumming open for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 6:37 left in the game. The two-point conversion failed but Holyoke was on the board, 39-6.
The teams traded three and outs and with 3:26 left in the game, Highland began their final drive of the game. Roughly two minutes later they extended their lead to 45-6 with the final score of the game.
Holyoke will host Wray on Friday, Oct. 23 for the final home game of the season. Wray brings a 5-2 record to town after suffering their second loss to Yuma last week. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Other North Central action
Other North Central Conference teams played Friday, Oct. 16.
Yuma beat Wray 35-6 and Akron shutout Wiggins 47-0.
Holyoke junior varsity is scheduled to travel to Wray on Monday, Oct. 26 for a 4:30 kickoff against the Eagles.