By Andrew Johnson
And indeed it was a battle, but when the dust settled, Holton posted a big 20-6 victory in CSAA conference action and kept its perfect record intact.
“It feels good,” said Holton head coach Jack Nummerdor, whose team is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1999. “The kids are really starting to buy into it.
“We told the kids from the get-go it doesn’t matter what the records are, whether they have the athletes or we have the athletes, we play each other tough. I’ll give credit where it’s do, they (Hesperia) came to play.”
The game started out as a defensive battle. The lone first half score came with 48.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Holton quarterback Drew Trygstad punched in a one-yard quarterback sneak on fourth down.
The Holton drive covered 79 yards over 13 plays and took 7:25 off the game clock. The Red Devils also converted three fourth-down conversions on the drive.
Hesperia got off to a strong start in the second half, forcing a three-and-out on the Red Devils’ first offensive possession.
The Panthers then drove the ball 78 yards over 15 plays in 4:21 to tie the game at 6-6. Running back Logan Pearson completed the effort by punching in a four-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
The game was tied after three quarters, but Holton took control down the stretch.
It started with 10:30 remaining in the fourth quarter when Trygstad punched in a one-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown. Trygstad also found the end zone on the two-point conversion run to give the Red Devils a 14-6 lead.
Hesperia took its next offensive drive all the way down inside the Red Devil 20-yard line, before turning the ball over on downs.
“The defense finds a way,” said Nummerdor. “They’re kind of a bend-but-don’t-break type of thing. They just find a way. I’m proud of how they played the whole game.”
Following the Panther turnover on downs, the Red Devils marched down the field, traveling 76 yards over eight plays while taking 3:54 off the play clock. The drive was capped off by a 13-yard touchdown run by Aaron Herron, which made the score 20-6 with 2:26 remaining after an unsuccessful two-point conversion.
Hesperia had one final offensive possession that ended with the Panthers turning the ball over on downs.
Herron led the Red Devils with 146 rushing yards and one touchdown on 23 carries while Derek Pouch finished with 125 yards on 16 carries.
“It feels great,” said Herron about being undefeated. “It’s something we haven’t done in a long time. It was all the line tonight. We couldn’t do it without our line.”
Trygstad finished with 47 yards on 3 of 7 passing while also rushing for 15 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
Draven Wyant and Mitchell Ross each had 12 tackles to lead the Red Devils. Of Wyant’s 12 tackles, seven were for a loss.
Hesperia, now 0-3, was led by Pearson with 158 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
Holton will hope to improve to 4-0 next week when it hosts Morley Stanwood, while Hesperia will look to find the win column when it travels to White Cloud.