Owls can’t sustain drives; blanked
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.