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Dragons make it three in a row PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

It was looking like Holyoke was going to come up short Saturday afternoon on their home field against Resurrection Christian.

The Cougars scored a go ahead touchdown with 1:00 left on the clock. After a successful PAT, Resurrection Christian led 28-21. The hearts of those on the Dragon sideline and in the stands were let down, but a mere 15 seconds later, that all changed.

Senior Brett Cumming fielded the ensuing Cougar kickoff at his own 15 yard line and took off. Eighty-five yards and 15 seconds later, he was celebrating with his teammates in the Cougar end zone after returning the kickoff for the score. Holyoke trailed by one. While Dragon kicker Saul Ramos is more than capable of making a field goal, coach John Zilla opted to line up for the two-point conversion and the win.

“I didn’t want to get into a shoot out with them,” he said. He knew his defense was a bit gassed after spending much of the second half on the field so he thought, “I’m going for the win.”

Dylan Kotch crosses the goal line in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. The score helped tie the game at 21 with just over nine minutes left in the game.  

—Enterprise photo

Quarterback T.J. Gertner took the snap and handed off to Cumming who trotted around the right side untouched for the score. The Dragon bench erupted with cheers as they held a one-point lead with 45 seconds remaining in the game.

Zilla said looking back at the film, the Cougars overloaded the left side in anticipation of a Gertner run to the left. This opened up an easy score for Cumming who was led by blocker Dylan Kotch.

Holyoke was offside on the ensuing kickoff and after the second kick, the Cougars began at their own 33 yard line.

A 27-yard pass moved Resurrection Christian into Dragon territory at the 40. Two more passes moved them deeper but without a time out, they had trouble stopping the clock. There were 13 seconds left after the Cougars’ last pass and time expired as they raced to line up one more time.

The game ended with Resurrection’s coaches upset as they thought the referees had plenty of time to set the ball for one more play.

Regardless, the game was over and Holyoke celebrated the one-point 29-28 victory.

The win improves the Dragons’ record to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play.

“I told the coaches all week long, it’s whoever makes the last mistake,” Zilla said. “I can’t believe they kicked to him (Brett),” the coach added.

The quiet senior “leads by example,” Zilla said. Cumming was a little down on himself because of a couple mistakes earlier in the game. “You could see it in his eyes,” the coach said of the determination before the kickoff return.

Holyoke lined up to kick the ball away to begin the game Saturday morning. Kicker Ramos surprised the visitors as well as his coach by kicking an onside kick which Holyoke recovered.

Zilla said they hadn’t called an onside, Ramos just had the ball come off of his foot wrong. A squib kick was called but it ended up working out for the home team.

Luke Stewart swooped in and fielded the ball at the Cougar 48 yard line. The Dragons managed to move down to the 15. From there, Gertner found a wide open Bradley Cumming for the opening touchdown. Ramos added the PAT to give Holyoke a 7-0 lead with just over nine minutes left in the first quarter.

Luke Stewart covers up an onside kick at the beginning of the game. Stewart’s recovery helped set up the first score of Holyoke’s 29-28 win over Resurrection Christian.  

—Enterprise photo

Resurrection Christian got on the board with time running down on the opening quarter. Quarterback Luke Mondt threw a 15-yard touchdown to pull the Cougars within one. The PAT was no good.

On their next possession, Resurrection Christian scored again to take the lead. A 35-yard touchdown run gave them a 12-7 lead and after the two-point conversion, the Cougars led 14-7.

Holyoke scored its second touchdown with just under five minutes left in the half. Bradley Cumming scored on a 15-yard run. The two-point conversion was no good and the Dragons trailed 13-14 heading into halftime.

Both defenses stood tough much of the third quarter. Resurrection Christian extended its lead with 2:03 left in the period. A six-yard touchdown run and PAT made it 21-13 in favor of the Cougars.

Following a poor Cougar punt in the fourth quarter, Holyoke began at its own 43. Six plays later, Holyoke fullback Kotch trotted his way into the end zone on a four-yard carry. The drive got a huge boost from a 47-yard pass to Brett Cumming from Gertner.

Holyoke managed to grab two points but it was a little unconventional. Gertner rolled to his left and set his sights on the end zone. The Cougars were ready however, and held him out. As Gertner was going to the ground, he flipped the ball forward where Tito Fierro happened to be waiting. Fierro dove, cradled the ball and landed in the end zone. After some confusion, the refs signaled a score and just like that, Holyoke had tied the game at 21.

Tito Fierro hauls in a pass from T.J. Gertner for a two-point conversion knotting the game at 21 Saturday afternoon.  

—Enterprise photo

Later in the fourth, the Dragons were driving. After receiving a gift of a 15-yard personal face mask call, Holyoke had the ball first and 10 at Resurrection Christian’s 27 yard line. A costly fumble however turned the ball over to the Cougars.

With 5:35 left, the visitors drove the ball down inside Dragon territory. With 1:00 left, the Cougars hit pay dirt from 24 yards out on a double halfback pass play. The PAT was good giving Resurrection Christian a 28-21 lead.

It was the next kickoff that Brett Cumming took 85 yards to the house to pull Holyoke within one and eventually the win.

“I was so happy the team didn’t quit on me,” Zilla said. “Even with a minute left, they didn’t quit. They came back and battled the whole time.”

The coaching staff has expressed all season that the team play all four quarters. Zilla said he feels they played an entire four Saturday even though there were a few mistakes made.

Zilla said the team has really come together over the past few weeks. He noted the seniors said this was by far the best win of their career.

The win was only the fourth home victory for the seniors on this year’s team throughout their career. Their last came in 2010 over Highland. They also beat Resurrection Christian at home that year. In 2009 they took down Peyton during the Homecoming game.

Holyoke will host Yuma Friday night, Oct. 5 during the Homecoming game. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Zilla said he hopes the distractions of Homecoming don’t throw the team off. He said Yuma will be itching to ruin the festivities for the Dragons Friday night. Yuma enters the game with a 2-3 overall record and are 1-2 in conference play after beating Highland last week.


Stats recorded

Holyoke finished with 317 yards of total offense. Gertner had 78 through the air. He completed four of nine passes and had one touchdown. The Cumming brothers each caught two passes. Brett had 56 yards with a long of 47. Bradley had 22 yards and a score.

On the ground Brett Cumming led the team with 106 yards on 22 carries. Bradley had 71 yards on 11 carries and one score. Kotch finished with 59 yards on 14 carries and a score. Gertner also ran the ball.

Wyatt Powell punted the ball four times. He averaged 36.75 yards with a long of 42. He pinned the Cougars inside the 20 once.

Brett Cumming returned one punt for 12 yards. He returned three kickoffs for 140 yards. His long was the 85-yard touchdown return to help Holyoke win the game.

On the defensive side, Holyoke gave up 315 yards through the air and 135 on the ground.

Jesus Hermosillo had a team high 13 tackles. Bradley Cumming was the only other in double digits with 10.

Logan Zeiler finished with an interception while Kotch recovered one fumble.


North Central action

Other North Central Conference teams played last week. Wray beat Cornerstone Christian Academy 57-18, Yuma beat Highland 34-7 and Wiggins beat Rocky Ford 48-20.

Holyoke Enterprise October 4, 2012