Courtesy of Kirk Hutchinson
Holcomb, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–The Holcomb Longhorns saw their 2022 football season come to an end Friday night at the hands of the Pratt Greenbacks in the opening round of the playoffs, 47–34.
The Longhorns opened the game like a lightning strike, as Khai Cosner raced 86 yards with the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Chris Palacios added the extra point and 15 seconds into the game, Holcomb led 7–0.
Pratt struck back, driving 64 yards in just seven plays, with Max Younie rolling in from 20 yards out. The extra point tied the game at 7, with 8:08 to play in the 1st quarter.
Holcomb got another good kick return out to the 41-yard line, but the offense went three-and-out. The momentum shifted to Pratt, despite being pinned at their own 8-yard line after a Palacios punt. The Greenbacks charged down the field in six plays, capping the 92-yard drive with a 13-yard run by Carson Hoeme. Pratt missed the PAT, so Holcomb trailed 13–7 at the 4:05 mark.
The Longhorns responded on their next drive as Cosner galloped 65 yards for the tying score. It was the fifth play of a drive that had started on the Holcomb 20. The extra point was no good and the game was tied at 13 as the 1st quarter ended.
The 2nd quarter proved costly for the Longhorns, as the offense couldn’t sustain a drive and the defense couldn’t stop the Greenbacks.
Pratt took the lead for good with a 7-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 14-yard Johnny Martinez TD run. The extra point made it 20–13. After a Holcomb punt and a return to the Longhorn 43, Pratt scored in seven plays. Ke’Rei Thompson ran 13 yards and then fumbled the ball into the end zone and fell on it. The officials ruled it a touchdown and the extra point pushed Pratt’s lead to 27–13.
After another Holcomb punt, Pratt drove 62 yards in seven plays, with Younie hitting Hoeme for a 15-yard TD pass. The extra point was good and Holcomb trailed 34–13 at halftime.
The Longhorns battled back in the 2nd half, getting a big stop on defense to open the 3rd quarter. The Greenbacks drove to the Holcomb 35, but got stuffed on 4th down. The Longhorns then drove 65 yards in 8 plays, with Chris Palacios racing into the end zone from 25 yards out. The extra point brought Holcomb within 14 points, 34–20.
Pratt drove to the Holcomb 18 on the next possession, but the defense stood up again, forcing a 35-yard field goal attempt that was no good.
The Longhorns took over at their 20 and appeared to be gaining the momentum. On the 5th play of the drive, Damon Mesa bounced off tacklers and carried the ball to mid-field, but a holding penalty pushed the Longhorns back to their 26-yard line and they couldn’t overcome it.
Pratt regained control of the game on the next drive, with Max Younie scampering in from 33 yards out. The extra point made it 41–20 with 7:20 to play in the game.
Holcomb wasn’t finished, driving 80 yard in 14 plays, with Damon Mesa scoring on a 5-yard run. The two-point conversion failed and Holcomb trailed 41–26 with just 4:05 to play.
The Longhorns tried an onside kick, but the Greenbacks recovered. Three plays later Younie hit J’air Johnson for a 51-yard TD pass and Pratt led 47–26.
Holcomb scored the game’s final touchdown with 30 second to play. Palacios pushed into the end zone from the 1 on fourth-and-goal. The two-point conversion made the final score 47–34.
Seniors Khai Cosner and Chris Palacios finished the night with two touchdowns apiece. Seven seniors saw their careers come to an end: Cosner and Palacios, along with Tristan Ortner, Jaxton Gallegos, Riley and Ethan Haremza, and Jaiden Castillo.
Holcomb finished the year at 7-2 in Kent Teeter’s 9th season as head coach. The Longhorns are 73-24 under Teeter.