Courtesy of Kirk Hutchinson
Ulysses, Kan. (–The Holcomb Longhorns rolled into Ulysses Friday and rolled out with a 61-7 thrashing of the Tigers.

The Longhorns opened the game with a 94-yard kickoff return from Manny Reyes to go up 7-0 just 15 seconds into the game. But the Tigers responded quickly with Aden Alvarado hitting Julian Meraz for a 70-yard TD and one minute into the game, the score was tied at 7.

“We had all the momentum,” Head Coach Trey Teeter said after the game, “returned the opening kickoff, which was really cool. They answered with a pretty quick score and we just had to rally the troops and get back to it.”

Holcomb went three-and-out on the next possession, but got the ball back after the Longhorn “D” stuffed Ulysses on fourth down at the Tiger 40. Four plays later, Keegan Johnson scampered into the end zone from 24 yards out and Holcomb led 13-7.

On the Tigers’ next series, a big pass completion was spoiled by a fumble that the Longhorns recovered on their own 35-yard line. Two plays later, Keegan Johnson hit Korbin Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Holcomb converted a two-point conversion, making it 21-7, and the rout was on.

On the very next play, Ethan Kennis picked off an Alvarado pass and returned it inside the Tiger 10. Manny Reyes would punch it in from three yards out and with the extra point, Holcomb led 28-7.

Ulysses went three-and-out and Manny Reyes returned the punt to the Tiger 44. A penalty pushed the Longhorns back into their side of the 50, but Reyes rambled 46 yards to give Holcomb a first down at the Ulysess 8-yard line. Reyes scored on a 4-yard run and Holcomb led 34-7.

Ulysses then drove into Holcomb territory but turned the ball over on downs at the Longhorn 25. A 9-play, 75-yard drive ended with Keegan Johnson running it in from the 3-yard line to make the score 41-7, with the PAT.

On the Tigers’ third play of the next possession, Korbin Johnson intercepted a pass at the 29-yard line and raced into the end zone for the touchdown. It was Johnson’s second “pick-six” of the season.

The half ended with Greg Martinez intercepting a desperation pass in the endzone, and Holcomb led 47-7, having scored 40 unanswered points.

The 2nd half began with the Longhorn “D” forcing a three-and-out. Then the Longhorns scored a on a six-play, 46-yard drive, with Keegan Johnson completing a 16-yard TD pass to Jareht Herrell, putting Holcomb up 54-7, following the extra point.

Greg Martinez finished off the scoring on the first play of the next possession, intercepting an Alvarado pass and returning it 32 yards for a touchdown, the Longhorns’ second “pick-six” of the game.

The Longhorns forced five Tiger turnovers, four interceptions and one fumble. They also stopped Ulysses on fourth down three times. Coach Teeter was pleased with the performance.

“The defense has been playing phenomenal. They’re playing really fast. We missed a tackle a couple of times, but then there were three guys right there. It was really cool to see the pursuit to the ball.”

Keegan Johnson completed seven of nine passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two TDs. Manny Reyes ran for 93 yards on 13 carries, with two rushing touchdowns, and had the kick return TD to start the game. Holcomb had 323 yards total offense, 151 through the air and 172 on the ground.

Teeter summed up the game, saying, “There’s a lot of moving pieces to this team and whenever we can get it to all click together, we can be a pretty special group. Tonight was a really good example.”

Holcomb improves to 2-1 and the Longhorns start district play this Friday at Goodland. The Cowboys are 1-2, coming off a 16-14 win over Lakin. Pregame will start at 6:30, with kickoff at 7:00, on KBUF 107.1 FM and 1030 AM.