By Greg Perkins
The Roadrunners’ football season opener didn’t go as hoped by their fans.
Facing a bigger and stronger Lobo squad, a good sized home crowd witnessed the Birds battle tough through the first couple of series, but midway through the first, Ty Reidhead broke loose on a 40-yard scoring run putting Snowflake on top 7-0 with Kirt Solomon’s point after kick. Working with great field position fol-lowing the first of Holbrook’s five offensive fumbles, Josh Kelley punched in from five yards out, pushing the lead to 14-0. A second Holbrook mistake quickly led to a 29-yard scoring strike from Reidhead to Doug Brimhall, leaving Holbrook trailing 21-0 at the end of the first 12 minutes.
In the second quarter, Snowflake followed up a successful fake punt play with a 25-yard scoring run by Reidhead, pushing the lead to 27-0. Snowflake added a 10-yard scoring run from Dallin Merrill with just over four minutes left in the half to take a comfortable 35-0 lead into the break.
The third period went much like the first half, with Merrill scoring early in the quarter on a three-yard plunge. He added a six-yard scoring run later in the period to move the margin to 48-0 heading into the fourth.
Holbrook avoided the shutout when Dontae Hollins scrambled, then connected with Sheldon Silversmith for a 25-yard scoring toss. Magnus Mortensen booted the point after for the Roadrunners.
The Roadrunners’ excitement didn’t last long as Rick Shumway returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards right up the middle of the field for the final score of the night in the 54-7 Lobo win.
Snowflake 21 14 13 6 54
Holbrook 0 0 0 7 7
“Going into the game we knew we had to eliminate our turnovers and their big plays. Those were the things that ended up hurting us in the game,” said Coach John Bokker.
“I thought the guys played hard from the beginning to the end. We will work on our negatives and build on our positives. Dontae Hollins did a nice job of running the offense, and Shem Bowman and Nikko Ferniza were the leading tacklers on defense.” Holbrook had a few bright spots on offense, but five fumbles and one interception, along with a stout Lobo defense, kept the Roadrunners from building any momentum. As quarterback, Hollins showed an impressive arm when not running from relentless pressure as the Lobos easily controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball throughout the game. Hollins completed four of 10 attempts for 67 yards with one touchdown and one pick. His favorite target was Silversmith, who caught three for 67 yards. Shem Bowman made the other catch for no gain.
Holbrook’s rushing attack was stymied for most of the game, picking up just 90 yards on 31 attempts. Bowman gained 37 on eight runs, Silversmith picked up 27, also on eight attempts, and Hollins gained 20 yards on four runs.
Defensively, the Roadrunners were led by Bowman with 18 tackles, 15 of which were solo. Nikko Ferniza made eight stops, and Lanny Newton-Pender was credited with six, including two quarterback sacks. Ferniza also had one interception, which came in the fourth period against Snowflake’s backup squad, returning it 45 yards.
Despite the lopsided score, the 54-7 margin was an improvement over last season’s 61-point deficit. Hol-brook showed signs of a good running game when a hole was opened up by the offensive line. Areas where immediate improvement will be needed to avoid a similar result this Friday against Winslow will be turnovers and tackling.
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By Greg Perkins