By Greg Perkins
Playing their final home football game of the year last Friday night, the Holbrook Roadrunners were overpowered by the visiting Round Valley Elks.
The Birds played well through most of the first period, giving up just a safety, but by the end of the night they found themselves on the wrong side of a 44-14 final score.
Round Valley has a strong running game and used that to build a 37-0 lead. Holbrook got on the board with a 31-yard run by Lanny Newton-Pender in the third quarter, then again with a one-yard plunge by Shem Bowman in the final quarter. Both scores came against the Elks’ bench players as their starting defense has not given up a score in their past three games.
Holbrook did a better job taking care of the ball compared to last week’s loss to St. Johns, but just couldn’t find much rhythm on offense, finishing with only 187 total yards.
Dontae Hollins completed three of nine passes for 25 yards. Newton-Pender had two catches for 23 yards and Julian Garcia caught one ball for two yards.
On the ground, Bowman carried 15 times, gaining 73 yards with one score. Newton-Pender had 10 attempts for 64 yards with a score. Hollins rushed 11 times for 31 yards and had a two-point conversion run.
Defensively, Nikko Ferniza led the team with nine tackles. Bowman, Newton-Pender and CJ Plumb each made eight tackles. Ben Nafziger had seven takedowns. Bowman and Plumb each had a quarterback sack in the loss.
“Round Valley is a tough physical team. We hung with them for a while, but missed tackles and not being able to move the ball offensively the first half put us in a hole we could not get out of,” said Coach John Bokker.
“If we are able to have our whole team play to their potential every game, we would win these games. Football is a sport where you need 11 guys to play hard the whole game. Even if one athlete decides to take a play off it can be a disaster. It was a sad night for me personally, seeing all those seniors that have been involved for so many years play their last home game.”
Those recognized on Senior Night were Dontae Hollins, Ben Nafziger, Shem Bowman, Shain Kee, Clayton Hunt, Tyrell Yazzie, Kevin Self, CJ Plumb, Angel Aguilera and Tyler Nez.
With the loss Holbrook falls to 5-4 on the season. The Birds should find the going much easier in their final regular season game Friday night, Nov. 1, at Miami. They need to win that game to have a chance for a trip to the state playoffs. If they make it, they will be seeded very low in the bracket, and will have to match up with one of the top two or three teams in the first round of the playoffs, which begin in two weeks.
By Greg Perkins