CIMARRON, Kan. — The Holcomb Longhorns opened the 2020 football season with a 29-19 win over the Cimarron Bluejays, on the strength of a stifling defense in the 1st half and two 1st quarter touchdown passes from junior quarterback Kaden Johnson.
After holding Cimarron to a three-and-out to start the game, Holcomb began its first drive from its own 40 yard line. Seven plays later, Johnson found sophomore Chris Palacios in the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown strike. Palacios added the extra point and the Longhorns led 7-0.
Cimarron responded very quickly. On the third play of the Bluejays’ next possession, Seth Ridenour raced 65 yards around left end for a touchdown. Quarterback Braxton Harrison added the two-point conversion and Cimarron led 8-7.
The two teams traded punts, but the Longhorns gained the field position advantage, setting up at midfield for their third possession. Five plays later, Johnson found freshman Damon Mesa for a 25 yard touchdown pass and Holcomb went up 13-8.
The half’s most critical play may have come early in the 2nd quarter after Holcomb forced Cimarron to punt from its own 21 yard line. With Harrison in punt formation, the snap sailed over his head. By the time he chased down and secured the football he could only run out to the 8 yard line before being tackled, setting up the Longhorns first-and-goal. After a false-start penalty, Kolby Johnson rolled in from 7 yards for his first touchdown of the season. Kaden Johnson hit Cooper Henson in the end zone for the two-point conversion and Holcomb led 21-8.
Late in the 2nd quarter, another snap eluded Harrison and this time he recovered it in the end zone for a safety, giving Holcomb a 23-8 halftime lead.
The Longhorn offense sputtered in the third quarter, punting the ball away on three straight possessions. Cimarron managed one good drive in the quarter, settling for a 28-yard Emanuel Aguilar field goal to trim the lead to 23-11.
Holcomb added its final touchdown on a 41-yard drive, capped by Kolby Johnson’s 4-yard run for his second TD of the night. Johnson rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries.
Cimarron closed out the scoring with a 68-yard drive, as Harrison hit Seth Ridenour on a slant pattern for a touchdown from 8 yards out. Ridneour then added the two-point conversion and the Bluejays trailed 29-19, with 3:26 remaining in the game. Cimarron would get no closer.
Cimarron’s Braxton Harrison completed 7 of 19 passing attempts for 100 yards and one touchdown. Seth Ridenour led all rushers with 69 yards, most of those coming on his 65-yard TD run. Holcomb’s Kaden Johson was 14 out of 22 on pass attempts for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bluejays start the season at 0-1 and will travel to Colby next week to face an Eagle team that rolled over Hugoton 35-6 in its season opener.
Holcomb is 1-0 and will welcome the Scott City Beavers to town in the season’s second game. Scott City shut out Ulysses 17-0 in week one.