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Andrew DeLeon sprints between a pair of Holy Cross defenders during Friday’s Homecoming loss.



Carson Stoner dives forward in an attempt to turn a 4th-and-10 into a first down early in the fourth quarter against Holy Cross. When officials brought the chains out, the ball was an inch short.


Owls can’t sustain drives; blanked by HC

By Jeff Berger
Anvil Herald Sports Editor

Some nights, every bounce of the ball goes in your favor.

Some nights, none of them do.

Friday’s game at Barry Field was a prime example of the latter.

The Hondo Owls had opportunities -- lots of opportunities. But five turnovers and four stops on fourth down made it certain that a win on Homecoming 2014 wasn’t going to happen.

Holy Cross, meanwhile, had three big offensive plays, all scoring runs by senior tailback Greg Scott, and that was enough for a 20-0 win for the Knights.

The Owls are now 2-2 on the season, with Devine, a non-district rival for the first time since 1991, coming to Barry Field this Friday, Sept. 26. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

“We had great field position all night,” said Hondo coach Jeff Rochat. “We started in their end of the field five times, including once at the 15-yard line. And that time, we fumbled it right back on the next play.

“It seemed like we had a lack of focus, and I have to take responsibility for that. We appeared to be waiting to see if something good was going to happen, instead of stepping up and making it happen. We have to do a better job of getting them prepared to play.”

He also added that the game was “the perfect storm. Holy Cross comes in with a good team, a good running back, a big offensive line, and a good defense. And we catch them after Medina Valley and before Devine -- on Homecoming.”

With the Knights starting a freshman, seeing his first varsity action, at quarterback, it might have seemed that the Owls had a built-in advantage.

But Nazario Coleman was solid enough at simply managing the game, starting with finding TJ Dennie for a 15-yard gain on a screen pass to convert a 3rd-and-11 right off the bat. Six plays, and two more third down conversions later, Scott broke a tackle at the line for a 19-yard TD run. Antonee Alingod’s extra point made it 7-0 with barely three minutes gone.

Rick Moreno’s kickoff return, with a penalty tacked on, set up Hondo at the HC 47 on its first possession.

Moreno gained 11 yards on first down. Then after a holding penalty on the Owls, Carson Stoner found Andrew DeLeon for 11 more yards to the 23. Facing 4th-and-1 at the 14, Stoner kept on a sneak, but after the bodies were unpiled and the chains brought out, the Owls were one inch short.

Big stops by Cade Tanksley and Heath Runnels forced a Knight punt, but Chris Rodriguez intercepted for HC three plays later.

Penalties forced the Knights into a long yardage situation, and Moreno came up with an interception as the second period opened. His 28-yard return set up the Owls at the HC 47 for the third straight possession.

Facing 4th-and-10, Stoner lined up to punt, but instead threw over the middle to Willie Keilman for a gain of 18. HC was initially flagged for spearing on the tackle, but the penalty marker was waved off. A sack on third down forced the the Owls to punt.

Likewise, a sack from Tristan Garza led to a Knight punt. With time in the half running down, Stoner scrambled for what looked to be a first down around the HC 35, but the ball was knocked loose. The Knights took over and ran out the rest of the clock.

To open the second half, the Owls began to move the ball once more. Stoner ran 12 yards for a first down, then passed to Pete Rochat for another at the 34. Facing 4th-and-10, Stoner scrambled for another first down, but the Owls were flagged for lining up in an illegal formation. Hondo punted, and the ball just rolled into the endzone for a touchback.

“We moved the chains,” said Coach Rochat. “We just struggled to finish drives.”

HC then went 80 yards in five plays. A 29-yard run from Scott, a personal foul against the Owls, and a 33-yard Scott run put the ball in the endzone with 5:35 left in the third.

Sophomore Matt DeLeon got his first varsity carry, covering 14 yards into HC territory, but the drive stalled and the Owls had to punt again.

With Holy Cross facing a 3rd-and-9 at its 17, Hondo created its own break. Wesley Rogge sacked Coleman, popping the ball loose, and Tanksley fell on it at the 15-yard line.

The next play, a big hit from Knights’ linebacker Genaro Coleman put the ball on the ground again, and HC recovered at the 30.

The Owls forced a punt, and took over at their 29. A late hit from the Knights’ defense turned a potential 4th-and-long into a Hondo first down at the 42. Three straight incompletions left Hondo with a 4th-and-10. With just nine minutes left to play, the Owls had to go for it. Stoner broke from the pocket and appeared to dive for the first down, but the ball was spotted back a couple of feet from the senior QB’s landing point. The measurement, for the second time on the night, came up one inch short.

Scott got turned around in the backfield and wound up getting dropped by Rogge for a 20-yard loss, leading to a punt.

Hondo picked up two first downs, on a personal foul penalty and a 16-yard pass to Andrew DeLeon. But once again, a scramble for Stoner inside the 20 ended with HC knocking the ball loose.

Another Holy Cross punt was followed by another Hondo loss of downs.

Scott then went 64 yards untouched for the game-clinching TD with 4:08 to play.

Hondo’s last-ditch drive crossed midfield but ended with an interception from Darren Graham. From there, the Knights ran out the clock.

Scott’s 174 yards rushing on 21 carries accounted for just over 75% of Holy Cross’ total offense.

The shutout was the first the Owls have suffered since the 2008 Medina Valley game, a stretch of 63 games. It was the first blanking of the Owls at Barry Field since the 1995 Devine game, snapping the school-record home game scoring streak at 96.



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