Week 1 of prep football provides mild, not-so mild surprises
CORRECTION: Scott City wide receiver Chris Pounds was incorrectly identified in the original story on Tuesday.
By BRETT MARSHALL
For the most part, the opening Friday night of the 2013 prep football season had few surprises.
Well, it depends upon with whom you're talking.
Take Holcomb's 21-20 thriller over defending Class 2A champion Meade on the road and that might classify as one of the more unexpected outcomes.
Or, Ingalls' 34-30 rally over South Gray to provide the Bulldogs with a big opening win for coach Ted Brown.
Perhaps it might even have been Scott City's 40-13 thumping of Class 4A Abilene as the Beavers opened defense of their 2012 Class 3A state title.
Suffice it to say, even Garden City's nail-biter of a setback at Bixby, Okla., might have been even closer than some had predicted.
But if you talked to any of the coaches on the upside of the Friday outcomes, they'll tell you that some of those games could easily have gone the other way.
In Holcomb's second straight 1-point escape with Meade, it boiled down to a 2-point conversion attempt with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.
That's when the Buffaloes' Jett Little couldn't connect with 6-4 tight end Morgan Davis on what would have been the potential game-winning points. Instead, the incompletion became the difference for the Longhorns and coach Jerry Johnson.
"It was a great feeling," Holcomb coach Jerry Johnson said of the Longhorns' big win. "Every possession against Meade you've got to make count because their offense sucks the life out of the game.
"They rarely go 3-and-out, so you've got to make the most of your opportunities when you're in scoring position."
The 'Horns scored three times on the eight possessions they had in the game, yet managed to only have the ball for 17:45 of the 48-minute game.
What turned out to be one of many big plays, but was the game winner, was a blocked point-after of Meade after the Buffs scored on their opening drive of the game.
"We hadn't even put in our blocked field goal defense," Johnson said. "(Heath) Tucker just came off the edge and got the block. It was certainly big for us. I think it affected their decision later to go for two."
Johnson also liked the fact his team had six different receivers make a catch.
"I'm an old fullback, grind-it-out kinda guy, but a few years ago we got smart and figured out we had a bunch of kids who could get into the open space," Johnson said. "So we changed things up, and now we're mostly (basketball) point guards and off guards who can catch the ball and run. So that's who we are."
In Scott City, the Beavers had all of 5 yards rushing in the first half, yet coach Glenn O'Neil's squad found themselves on the top side of a 27-0 halftime score.
That came due in part to Abilene's challenge of putting up a 10-man front to stop the Beavers' running game, traditionally one of the strongest components for Scott City's program.
So what was the answer?
Junior quarterback Trey O'Neil, the coach's son, simply picked apart the Cowboys' defense with four touchdown passes, by completing 7-of-10 passes for 211 yards.
"We've taken some small to medium steps since practice started and with the inexperience, we're just getting a little better every week," said coach O'Neil. "There wasn't much room for us to run early as they had every gap filled in, so we just went to the air. It worked, so there's no complaints."
That then set up the second half, where Abilene returned to its traditional defense only to see the Beavers have an answer for that by rushing for 199 yards in the second half. Paco Banda, with 52 yards on 13 carries, was the team's leading rusher.
"We're not as slow as packhorses, but we're not the blazing speed backfield that we've had," O'Neil said of his committee in the backfield. "We've got decent speed."
O'Neil said he liked the fact that the passing game worked when it was needed as receivers Brayden Strine and Chris Pounds accounted for 247 yards and 5 touchdowns on 9 receptions.
Defensively, the Beavers did give up 342 yards (138 rushing, 204 passing), but that's deceiving as 80 of those yards came on one TD play for the Cowboys.
"We had two guys that missed the same receiver twice on the same play," coach O'Neil said. "Not sure how two people miss the receiver twice, but it happened."
The only downside to come out of the game was a third-quarter injury to coach O'Neil's quarterback son, Trey. He dislocated a kneecap, a recurring injury from a year ago in both football and basketball, and is expected to miss Friday's home game with Colby and might return the following week in a key matchup at Holcomb.
"We're going to try and get him fitted with a brace, and the medical people tell us the ligaments are safe, so we'll just have to see," coach O'Neil said. "Trey would like to play Friday night, but I have my doubts he'll be out there."
That means junior backup QB Brett Meyer will be under center and coach O'Neil has confidence in his sub.
"He's had plenty of experience running our offense and he throws a nice ball," coach O'Neil said. "We'll just put the best people out there and see how they do."
There were a number of outstanding individual performances from Week 1, notably Garden City senior quarterback Greyson Tempel.
Despite four turnovers, Tempel still had a stellar effort at Bixby, where he rushed 15 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns, including runs of 53 and 71 yards in the second half.
Lakin's Gage McAtee carried 10 times for 122 yards and three TDs in a 38-0 win over Syracuse. Cimarron's Ty Clark got off to an impressive start by rushing 8 times for 148 yards and two scores, one of which went for 69 yards. James Turpin of Satanta helped the Indians get off to a successful start in their 36-0 victory over Goodwell, Okla., by rushing for 95 yards on 14 attempts with two TDs.
In the passing game, Cimarron's Caleb Fishcer completed 12-of-29 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns. Elkhart's Alex Gomez was 12-of-24 for 269 yards and four scores, including a 91-yarder to Justin Hurn. Hurn also had 150 yards rushing on 16 carries while Gomez added 84 yards on 11 attempts. Hurn was the top receiver with 7 receptions for 178 yards while Garden City's 6-5 wideout Caleb Tramp grabbed 7 passes for 135 yards.
McAtee had an 83-yard kickoff return for Lakin while Brock Brazel of Moscow had a 77-yarder for Moscow. Rolla's Kyler Telford intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for a score while McAtee also had a 54-yard punt return for another TD.
Note: Outstanding performances will be recognized each week and area coaches are encouraged to include the information when they submit game scores and summaries on Friday night. Or they can submit statistics to The Telegram by Sunday following each Friday's games.