By Greg Perkins
Holbrook’s trip to Ganado to face the unbeaten Hornets pretty much went as expected, with the Roadrunners returning home with a 34-6 victory to improve their record to 3-2.
Much like last week, the Roadrunners pulled away from their opponents with a dominating ground attack capped by three rushing touchdowns from Shem Bowman. Dontae Hollins opened the scoring with 8:28 left in the first, connecting with Julian Garcia on a nine-yard touchdown pass. Bowman ran in the conversion run, giving the Birds the early 8-0 edge.
Ganado threw the ball on every offensive play in the first half except the final three, but the Hornets’ first pass of the night was picked off by Ben Nafziger of Holbrook. Nafziger played well throughout the night, finishing the game as Holbrook’s leading tackler.
A long pass from Hollins to Garcia set up Holbrook’s next score, which came at the 2:42 mark of the first. Lanny Newton-Pender broke free for a 29-yard run, giving Holbrook the 14-0 lead.
The Hornets got on the board when Mike Jones caught a 15-yard pass, trimming the Birds’ lead to 14-6 with just over five minutes left in the half. A long return by Garcia set up Holbrook with good field position and the Birds took advantage of it just a minute later when Bowman scored the first of his three touchdowns, this one coming from 14 yards out. Ty Foard booted the point after and Holbrook held a 21-6 halftime lead.
Holbrook scored twice in the third, both coming on runs by Bowman. Midway through the period he scored from 35 yards out, then late in the period he punched in from a yard away.
Despite several of Holbrook’s successful offensive plays getting called back due to penalties, the Roadrunners still managed to pile up 421 yards of total offense. Defensively, they limited the Hornets to only 158 yards.
Hollins connected on six of 10 pass attempts for 58 yards with a score and one interception. Garcia was the leading target with two catches for 34 yards and a score. Nafziger caught one for 10 and Newton-Pender had one catch for eight yards.
On the ground the Birds had two backs go over the century mark. Bowman gained 135 yards on 14 tries with three scores. Daniel Foster rushed for 103 yards on 10 runs. Newton-Pender carried eight times for 58 yards with a score. Hollins rushed three times for 27, Aaron Thomas had five runs for 26 and Garcia carried twice for 14 yards.
Defensively, Nafziger led the team with 12 tackles and one interception. Bowman made 11 tackles, while Foard, Garcia and Foster each made eight stops.
“Our guys came together as a team against Ganado. There were many things on Friday night that could have frustrated and torn our team apart, but we became stronger. The guys were encouraging each other, picking each other up (emotionally and physically) and playing as a real team,” said Coach John Bokker.
“Offensively, I have never seen such unselfish play and outstanding blocking. Defensively, we knew they had an exceptional passing game, which Ganado displayed the previous week against Chinle. Our defensive backs shut them down and our front seven provided pressure. CJ Plumb had a great game on both sides of the ball and Ben Nafziger played a marvelous game, leading our team in tackles and intercepting the ball.”
Holbrook’s schedule continues to be favorable over the next two weeks as the Birds face Valley Sanders and Alchesay. Those two games will be followed by St. Johns and Round Valley, a couple of Division V powers, so the Birds need to compile as many power points wins as possible while they can.
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By Greg Perkins