The Holliday Eagles opened the 2019 season with a lot of new faces in the lineup. Despite a 35-28 overtime loss Head Coach Frank Johnson had to be pleased since he found out he had a team of gritty, talented competitors. A team on the way to growing into a force to be reckoned with in District 5-3A, Division 2. The Iowa Park Hawks, a Class 4A semifinalist last year, were formidable opponents. Hawk quarterback Trent Green accounted for 300 yards of total offense behind a very good offensive line.
Case Patterson at quarterback narrowly missed connecting on long passes downfield. A few more reps to improve timing will give the Eagles a passing threat to go with a bruising ground game. Patterson was 4 of 12 passing with a touchdown to Tucker Strealy. His completions went to 4 different targets. He found tight end Crosby Jurecek for a 35 yard completion to set up the first Holliday touchdown.
Senior running back Tristin Boyd rushed for 132 yards on 11 carries. Junior wingback Crae Jackson tacked on another 51 rushing yards on 8 carries. Austin Jones had 23 yards on 6 carries. The Eagles as a team rushed for 264 yards against a very good Hawk defense.
A blitz by sophomore linebacker Cason Foster resulted in a 3 yard loss on a third down to force a punt on the first Iowa Park possession. The first Eagle possession started on their own 17 yard line. It resulted in a couple of first downs. One on a 12 yard completion from Patterson to Cole Harrison. The other on a reverse to Jackson for an 8 yard gain. The drive stalled at the Eagle 45 yard line. A Logan Whitling punt pinned the Hawk on their own 16 yard line.
The first quarter ended 0-0, but the Hawks were on the move scoring on a 3 yard run to complete an 84 yard drive with 9:58 left before halftime to lead by 6. The point after was no good. Junior running back Connor Cox returned the ensuing kickoff to the Eagle 39 yard line. Boyd gained 14 yards to move the ball into Iowa Park territory at the 47 yard line. The Patterson to Jurecek 35 yard pass moved the ball to the 12 yard line. Three plays later Patterson scored on a 2 yard sneak with a good push up front from the offensive line. The Whitling point after kick gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead with 8:05 left in the half.
The Hawks on a Green 45 yard touchdown pass scored quickly. A two point conversion gave Iowa Park a 14-7 lead. The Eagles were forced to punt on the next possession. The Hawks were on their own 39 yard line, but this time the Eagle defense came up with 3 stellar defensive plays. The Hawk punt went out of bounds on the Holliday 21 yard line thanks to a relentless rush from the Holliday defenders. It took only one play to cover the 21 yards as Patterson connected with Strealy in the end zone for a touchdown. A Whitling point after kick tied the score at 14-14, the score at halftime.
A costly turnover on the Holliday 22 yard line gave the Hawks a short field early in the third period. Green scored on an 8 yard run. A nifty jump pass was complete for the 2 point conversion and a 22-14 lead with 10:42 left in the third. Cox returned the ensuing kickoff to the Holliday 32 yard line. An Eagle 78 yard drive capped by a Boyd 1 yard plunge made the score 22-20 with 4:44 left in the third period. The point after run was no good.
The Hawks drove to the Holliday 6 yard line on their next possession. Boyd stripped the ball from the ball carrier to force a turnover at the 5 yard line. The Eagles were able to move the ball to the Hawk 46 yard line before stalling due to a dropped pass as the fourth quarter started. The ball went over to Iowa Park on downs. The Hawks running and passing effectively completed a 54 yard drive with a 4 yard run. The point after two point attempt was no good. With 4:34 left in the contest the Hawks led 28-20.
The Eagles started on their own 25 yard line after the kickoff. Patterson again just missed on a long pass. A bad snap forced him to scramble. His attempt to throw the ball away resulted in a pass interception at the Holliday 45 yard line. The Eagle defense showed some maturity and grit forcing the ball over on downs after successfully defending a screen pass. A screen pass resulted in a big gain earlier in the contest. After taking over on the 40 yard line the Eagles faced a fourth down at the 46 yard line with little time on the clock. Boyd, not to be denied, rose to the occasion with a 54 yard run shedding tacklers along the way to score. Patterson added a 2 point conversion run to tie the game at 28-28 to set up overtime.
In the overtime the Hawks started on the 25 yard line. Green scrambled to the one yard line. The Hawks scored on a one yard plunge then added a point after kick to take a 35-28 lead. Patterson scrambled for a first down on the Eagle possession, and Jones gained to the 5 yard line. The Eagles, however, were not able to punch in a touchdown. On fourth down an incomplete pass ended the game. Two well coached teams went head to head to finish tied after four quarters. The Eagles came up only 5 yards short of having a second chance to win in overtime. The contest will go into the books as a loss, but it will also be a solid building block as the Eagles start the 2019 campaign.