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Holton Hangs on Late, Takes Down Nemaha Central for First Win of the Season
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports
09/15/2018

The Holton Wildcat football team entered Friday night coming off the worst loss in head coach Brooks Barta’s 23-year career, a 46-0 loss to Perry Lecompton in week two.

Coach Barta said before Friday night’s matchup with Nemaha Central that he was making a few changes, and whatever he did worked as the Wildcats picked up their first victory of the season taking down the Thunder 37-32 in a thriller.

The Wildcats wasted no time showing they were up for the task Friday night, going on a patented Holton drive that lasted 14 plays, went 60 yards and elapsed nearly 7 ½ minutes off the first quarter clock. The drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by sophomore Konnor Tannahill, and the Wildcats jumped to an 8-0 lead.

It didn’t take the Thunder long to respond, as it took Nemaha Central just four plays to match the Wildcats opening score with quarterback Dalton Schmelzle finding the end zone from 14 yards out. The Thunder couldn’t convert the point after attempt, leaving Holton out in front 8-6.

The Wildcats came right back in just three plays, as Tannahill found pay dirt for the second time in as many drives scoring on a 47-yard run to make it 16-6 Holton.

After a couple of traded punts the Thunder took their first lead of the game, as Schmelzle found his senior tight end Matt Baumgartner from two yards out to give Nemaha a 18-16 lead with under a minute left in the first half.

But on the ensuing kick, Taygen Fletcher gave the Wildcats great field position returning the football inside Thunder territory. Six plays later Holton got themselves into field goal range, and in the final seconds of the half senior Jackson Martin put the Wildcats in front with a 25-yard field goal giving Holton a 19-18 lead at halftime.

Out of the locker room the Thunder went three-and-out and Holton took advantage, going on another long, time consuming drive that lasted 13 plays capped off by Tannahill’s third rushing score of the game giving the Wildcats a 25-18 lead.

The Thunder never panicked, going on an eight play drive of their own to tie the game on an 8-yard run by Noe Gauna.

Holton came right back and took the lead once again, as Jackson Martin scored from a yard out to make it 31-25 Wildcats early in the fourth quarter.

The lead didn’t last long for Holton, as Gavin Duryea gave the Thunder the lead right back on a 3-yard plunge putting Nemaha back in front 32-31 with over 10 minutes left.

Another patented Holton drive gave the Wildcats the lead back, as they went on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that last over 8 ½ minutes capped off by Tannahill’s fourth score of the night from two yards out.

The Thunder started their ensuing drive with 3:56 to play, and after converting a fourth down and 15 got inside the Wildcat 20 yard line with just over two minutes to play. On the next play senior Ty Hermesch took a handoff and appeared to have room to the end zone, but a Holton defender forced a fumble and the Wildcats recovered.

Holton would pick up two first downs to ice the game, and finish off their first victory of the season.

Holton sophomore running back Konner Tannahill was the star of the game, as he finished with 149 yards rushing and four touchdowns after entering the game with just one touchdown on the season.

The Wildcats as a whole finished with 312 rushing yards in the contest, led by Tannahill’s big day along with Trey Wrights 71 yards.

Nemaha Central finished with 343 total yards in the contest, led by quarterback Dalton Schmelzle who finished with 283 yards passing on 15 completions with two scores. Matt Baumgartner led the Thunder in receiving with 129 yards on six receptions, while Ty Hermesch had 98 yards on five catches.

Next up for the Wildcats (1-2) is a road game at Hiawatha to begin district play, while the Thunder (1-2) will host Horton.


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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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