Holcomb beat Pratt High 19-14 in the second round of districts on Friday night.
The last few seasons, Holcomb and Pratt have developed quite the gridiron rivalry. This time, the Longhorns prevailed 19-14, putting them in the district driver’s seat.
The Greenbacks had their moments in a game that was characterized by numerous momentum swings, but in the end they were undone by a pair of uncharacteristic turnovers and an unfortunately all-too-characteristic special teams gaffe.
At times, the Frogs defense looked impenetrable, but at other times missed tackles and missed assignments cost them.
On Holcomb’s opening drive, they were able to move the ball into the red zone but Pratt’s defense stiffened and the Longhorns had to settle for a field goal attempt that they missed.
PHS took over the ball on their own 20 and had some positive plays before losing the ball on a fumble.
The Longhorns were unable to do much and punted back to Pratt.
The Greenbacks took over on their own 20 and went on a methodical drive that stretched into the second period. Kadence Riner had a long run that took the ball deep into Holcomb territory. Travis Theis completed the drive with a 2 yd TD plunge to put PHS on top 7-0.
Holcomb was again unable to move the ball and punted back to the Frogs. PHS looked to be driving for a second score when they again turned it over on a fumble on the Longhorn 20.
With 3:43 left in the half, Holcomb put together a nice drive that ended with a 15 yd TD pass to tie up the game 7-7 at the 1:36 mark.
Pratt could not move the ball, nor take time off the clock, and Holcomb got it back after a punt on their own 37 with less than a minute remaining-but it was enough. Pratt missed some tackles and got some defensive penalties. Holcomb made some good plays and they struck quickly. A 17 yd TD pass put the ‘Horns up 13-7 going into the break.
Both teams’ defenses were stout to start Q3 and they traded punts twice. On PHS’ third possession, Pratt put together another scoring drive. With Holcomb crowding the box, WR Brett Winsor made the drive’s biggest play- a great catch to convert a long 3rd down that also loosened up Holcomb’s defense.
QB Landen Studer scored on a keeper from 40 yds out to give the Frogs the lead back 14-13 as the 3rd frame was ending.
Holcomb drove inside the Pratt 5 on their next possession, but the PHS “D” held on downs. Then after failing to advance the ball, PHS mishandled the exchange on a punt and turned it over on their own 2.
The Greenback defense almost pulled another rabbit out of the hat, but Holcomb scored on 4th and goal on the 10 to go up 19-14 with 6:00 to go.
Pratt was unable to score down the stretch and Holcomb came away with the 19-14 win.
“Hats off to Holcomb. They played a good football game,” PHS head coach Jamie Cruce said. “We had our chances to win. Unfortunately we didn’t.”
“We’ll be playing for our season next week at Kingman,” Cruce continued. “They’ll be jacked up, too.”