July 15, 2024

Longhorns outlast the Tigers

Courtesy of Kirk Hutchinson
Holcomb, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–A pick-six to start the game and an interception to end the game propelled the Holcomb Longhorns to a 28-17 win over the Ulysses Tigers on Homecoming night in Holcomb.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and after picking two first downs, found themselves staring at a third-and-16 from their own 25. Quarterback Justin Degollado tried to hit Evan Cortez, but instead found Holcomb’s Brayden Bastin who picked off the pass at the Tiger 30 and raced to the end zone for the Longhorn TD. The two-point conversion was good and Holcomb led 8-0.

Ulysses responded quickly with Degollado rumbling 58 yards to the Holcomb 14 and Cortez scoring two plays later on a 12-yard run to complete a three-play, 72-yard drive. The extra point was no good and Holcomb still led 8-6.

The Longhorns answered on the next possession after a Khai Cosner kick return gave them the ball at their own 46. Eight plays later Damon Mesa found Tristan Ortner for a 9-yard TD pass and Holcomb was up 14-6.

The Tigers then went on a methodical 19-play drive that ate up nine minutes and ended with a 33-yard Lorenzo Gomez field goal to cut Holcomb’s lead to 14-9.

It was the Longhorn offense that blinked first with a quick three-and-out, and following a short punt, it took the Tigers just two plays to score. Gomez, the Tiger fullback, blasted up the middle, shedding tacklers, and rolled to a 51-yard touchdown to give Ulysses the lead. The two-point conversion was good and Ulysses led 17-14 with 5:34 left in the 1st half.

Holcomb answered quickly as Khai Cosner returned the Tiger kick to the Ulysses 49. A defensive pass interference penalty gave the Longhorns the ball at the Ulysses 34, but a holding penalty pushed them back to the 41. On second down, Mesa hit Manny Reyes down the left sideline and Reyes did the rest for a 40-yard touchdown. Manny Anguiano’s extra point made it 21-17 and the Longhorns would carry that lead to halftime.

Holcomb opened the 2nd half with a 9-play, 66-yard drive capped by Mesa’s 1-yard touchdown run. Anguiano’s extra point stretched the Longhorn lead to 11, 28-17.

After the defenses took over with turnovers ending Ulysses’ last two drives of the game. With just over seven minutes remaining, the Tigers’ Delgado fumbled the ball and Devon Garcia recovered at Holcomb’s 47. Then on the Tigers’ possession, Damon Mesa picked off Delgado pass in the end zone to seal the 11-point victory. Mesa took a knee twice to run off the final 49 seconds and Holcomb had the homecoming win.

Ulysses turned the ball over three times, while Holcomb had no turnovers. The Tigers rushed for 325 yards, but just 96 yards after the break. Delgado completed four out of thirteen passes for 51 yards, as Ulysses finished with 376 total yards. Delgado rushed for 140 yards on 18 carries.

Damon Mesa led Holcomb in rushing with 123 yards on 20 carries. As a team, the Longhorns rushed for 174 yards and threw for 137, to ring up 311 total yards. Mesa ran for 1 TD and threw for two others.

The Longhorns improved to 3-0 and will host the winless Goodland Cowboys next on Sept. 23.