The Holcomb Longhorns failed three times to score inside the 10 yard line and Ulysses running back Ian Rudzik rushed for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Tigers dumped the Longhorns 34-20.
The game may have hinged on a key sequence in the third quarter after Tiger QB Braden Scott fumbled a snap and the Longhorns recovered at the Ulysses 23, trailing 27-20. Christian Merz then made a spectacular, juggling catch in traffic to give the Longhorns 1st and goal at the 3. After a short run and a Ulysses penalty, Holcomb had 2nd and goal at the 1, but got called for having 12 men on the field on the next play, pushing the Longhorns back to the 6. Two plays netted short gains and on 4th and goal from the 5, Trey Teeter’s pass was deflected in the end zone. The Tigers then marched 95 yards, with Ian Rudzik scoring his third TD of the night on a 22-yard run and Ulysses went up 34-20.
The Tigers scored on the game’s opening drive, when Braden Scott hit Diego Maravilla in the back of the end zone on 4th down. The Longhorns went 3-and-out and on the Tigers’ next play from scrimmage, Rudzik bolted 82 yards for a 14-0 lead.
Holcomb responded with a 12 play, 72 yard drive, capped by a 16-yard TD pass from Teeter to Braden Showalter, who would catch 2 TD passes on the night. Teeter’s point after kick attempt was blocked and Ulysses answered with a 9-play, 65 yard drive, as Scott scored on a quarterback keeper from 2 yards out, stretching the lead to 20-6. The Longhorns came right back and Teeter hit Showalter again for a TD, this time from 15 yards out, and Holcomb trailed 20-12.
The Longhorns would get a chance to tie the game before halftime after forcing a Ulysses punt and driving to a 1st and goal just inside the 10 yard line. But Rudzik sacked Teeter for a 9-yard loss and on the final play of the half, Teeter’s pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
Holcomb had to punt to open the second half and Rudzik struck on Ulysses’ first play from scrimmage again, rambling 73 yards this time to put the Tigers up 27-12 after the PAT. The Longhorns turned to the quarterback run game and Teeter led the team on a 70 yard drive capped by his 1-yard dive into the end zone. Teeter then hit Conner Van Cleave for the 2-point conversion, drawing Holcomb within 7.
After being stopped inside the 10 yard line in the third quarter, the Longhorns had another opportunity to score in the fourth quarter when Merz caught a 19-yard pass from Teeter to give them 1st and goal at the 5. The Tiger defense stiffened again, the Longhorns caught tagged with another crippling penalty and Holcomb turned it over on downs once again.
Ulysses racked up 478 yards total offense, with 412 coming on the ground. Holcomb had 363 yards total offense, with 243 coming through the air. Trey Teeter completed 19 of 35 passes and also ran for 71 yards on 14 carries to lead the Longhorns’ ground game.
The Tigers improve to 3-0 and will travel to Colby next. The Longhorns are now 2-1 and will host the unbeaten Scott City Beavers on Friday. The pregame show will start at 6:30 p.m., with kick off at 7:00 on AM 1030 KBUF.