June 21, 2024

Longhorns overwhelm Mustangs

(Courtesy of Kirk Hutchinson)

KISMET, Kan. — The Holcomb Longhorns took advantage of two turnovers and two short punts to build a 28-0 1st quarter lead against the Southwestern Heights Mustangs, en route to a 38-12 win in week three of the high school football season.

“We wanted to start fast,” Head Coach Kent Teeter said after the game. “We didn’t feel like we started fast last week, but we finished well against Scott City. So we wanted to have a good first half this week, especially a good first quarter and we did that tonight.”

On the first play from scrimmage Hever Mercado, Heights’ all-purpose quarterback, rambled 10 yards, but had the ball stripped away and Kai Johnson recovered for the Longhorns at the Mustang 45. Six plays later, Kolby Johnson pushed into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown just two minutes into the contest. Johnson gained all 45 yards of the drive on 5 carries. Edgar Ramirez, seeing his first action of 2020, booted the extra point and Holcomb led 7-0.

The Longhorn defense would push the Mustangs back six yards on the next series and a 19 yard punt put Holcomb at the Heights 44 yard line. Levi Knoll raced 27 yards on the first play and two plays later Kolby Johnson scored his second TD of the night from 3 yards out. He would finish the night with 62 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 carries. The Ramirez PAT made the score 14-0 with 6:17 remaining in the opening quarter.

On the second play of the next series, Garrick Wells recovered another Mustang fumble and the Longhorns took over at the 25 yard line. It was Khai Cosner’s turn at running back and the sophomore had runs of 12, 9 and 4 yards to punch in the third TD of the night. Cosner would carry the ball four times on the night for 38 yards and a TD. After the Ramirez PAT, Holcomb led 21-0 with 3:45 to play in the 1st quarter.

It was another three-and-out for the Mustangs, losing six yards on three plays, and a 10-yard punt gave Holcomb the ball at the Mustang 34. Kaden Johnson took to the air, hitting Levi Knoll for 4 yards and then firing a 30-yard touchdown strike to Knoll. Levi finished the night with those two catches for a TD and a 27-yard run. Ramirez added the PAT and Holcomb led 28-0 with 55 seconds still to go in the opening stanza.

SW Heights would start the next series at its 11 yard line, thanks to a spectacular special teams tackle by Chris Harris. The Mustangs would finally get a first down, but stall at their 24 and another short punt set Holcomb up at the Heights 49 yard line. Three passes put the Longhorns at the two and Kaden Johnson would carry it in for Holcomb’s 5th consecutive TD. Ramirez’ extra point made it 35-0 with 7:18 to play in the half.

The Longhorns’ first five drives started in Mustang territory.

“That didn’t help our total yardage,” Teeter joked. “We executed and took advantage of (the short fields). Good teams need to do that.”

Race Ardery would force the third turnover of the night with an interception and the Longhorns started the sixth drive of the night at their own 31, the first time Holcomb found itself on its side of the 50. A switch at center led to a pair of bad snaps and the Longhorns would punt for the first time, with Chris Palacios booting it to the Mustang 30.

Southwestern Heights would put together its first good drive, with Memo Flores fighting his way into the end zone from 15 yards out and Holcomb’s lead was 35-6 with just over a minute to play in the 1st half.

The Longhorns flew down the field, setting up first-and-goal at the five, but three incompletions forced Holcomb to try a 22-yard field goal, which Ramirez hit as time expired. Edgar Ramirez was also 5-for-5 on extra points. At one point in the 1st half, Kaden Johnson hit eight straight passes, finishing the night 8 of 12 for 134 yards and 1 TD.

Except for special teams plays, the starters watched most of the second half, as Longhorn head coach Kent Teeter played everyone who suited up to play.

“Our younger kids kind of struggled on Monday in their JV game, but they looked a lot better today,” Teeter said.

The back-ups went toe-to-toe with Heights’ starters, finally giving up a touchdown in the 4th quarter. After a Longhorn fumble at the 37, the Mustangs would score on the fifth play of the drive, with Mercado finally getting into the end zone on a 16-yard scamper. The senior QB did most of his damage on draw plays and scrambles, finishing the night with 155 yards on 23 carries.

Holcomb would total 322 yards on offense, while Southwestern Heights racked up 253 total yards, 242 on the ground, mostly in the 2nd half.

The 38-12 victory gives Holcomb a 3-0 record heading into district play. SW Heights is now 1-2 after back-to-back losses.

The Mustangs begin district play at Cimarron, which picked up its first win of the season, 22-13 over Scott City. Holcomb will travel to Nickerson to take on the winless Panthers in the first district game.

Coach Teeter emphasized the importance of this next game.

“We’ve got to show up ready to go. We’ve got to be focused.”