MINERAL WELLS – The Holliday Eagles put an end to the Palmer Bulldog’s undefeated season last Friday night in a Class 3A, Division 2, Region 2, Area playoff game. The offense used a Kase Patterson to Tucker Strealy touchdown pass in the second quarter, a Logan Whitling field goal, and a Tristin Boyd 23 yard fourth quarter run for 17 points. The defense did the rest with a relentless pass rush and a bend but do not break attitude.

The Eagle defense bent a little on the Palmer first possession in the first period. The Bulldogs drove to the Holliday 31 yard line, but good pass coverage and pass rush resulted in 4 incomplete passes. The Eagles took over on downs, but could not generate any offense. They punted to the Palmer 38 yard line. For the second time Palmer drove into Eagle territory at the 24 yard line. Ayden Hutchins was holding his own in the secondary against the Bulldog passing attack. Once more the Eagles took over on downs at their 24 yard line as the quarter ended 0-0.

The Eagles finally got some offensive traction driving 76 yards in 8 plays. The drive included rushing yardage by Boyd and some pinpoint passing by Patterson. The touchdown came on a 22 yard completion to Tucker Strealy. Logan Whitling provided the point after to put the Eagles up 7-0 with 5:12 left before halftime. Whitling’s kickoff was a touchback putting the Bulldogs on their own 25 yard line. Palmer determined to pass in the face of the pass rush threw three incomplete passes and punted to the Eagle 40 yard line.

Junior wide receiver Keegan Hutchins made a diving catch at the Palmer 22 yard line. The Eagles were unable to move on three running plays so they called on Whitling. He delivered a 34 yard field goal to give Holliday the halftime lead of 10-0 with 11 seconds left in the half. He put the Bulldogs back at the 25 yard line with a touchback on the ensuing kickoff as the half ended.

The second half started with another Whitling kickoff in the end zone. Palmer started at their 25 yard line. The Bulldogs mixed some running with pass plays to get to the Holliday 47 yard line. Ayden Hutchins was big on defense and Patterson forced an errant throw with a blitz on fourth and 5. After taking over on downs at their 47 yard line Boyd ran for 32 yards to the Palmer 21. Just when it looked like the Eagles were going to break things open a Bulldog fumble recovery gave Palmer new life.

Palmer’s quarterback, Adrian Cisneros, engineered a 75 yard drive scoring on a 6 yard keeper. The point after attempt was no good, but at 10-6 the Bulldogs had new life with 2:45 left in the third period. Another Eagle fumble was recovered by Palmer. Gaining momentum and energized by the turnover they drove to the Holliday 24 yard line early in the fourth period. Once again the Eagle defense dug in to get the ball back on downs.

The Bulldogs stepped up their defensive effort forcing a Whitling punt. A roughing the kicker penalty was a serious mistake. The penalty moved the ball out to the Holliday 38 yard line. Retaining possession gave the Eagles a chance to burn some clock and maybe get some more points on the board. Boyd answered the call with a 23 yard touchdown run. He finished the night with 100 yards rushing on 11 carries. Whitling tacked on the extra point to make it 17-6. Now it was definitely a 2 possession lead with 6:10 left in the game.

The Eagles missed a chance to increase the lead when the Bulldogs were forced to go for it on a fourth and nineteen from their own 20. A field goal attempt was unsuccessful. Palmer was not ready for the season to end. Cisneros scrambled and threw for a touchdown and a two point conversion to cut the lead to 17-14. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, by the time they got the touchdown there were only 51 seconds left in the game. An unsuccessful on-side kick attempt allowed the Eagles to run out the clock and claim an Area round victory.

This Friday night at Burleson Stadium in Burleson the Holliday Eagles now 9-3 for the season will face the Lexington Eagles now 5-7 overall in a Regional matchup. Lexington eliminated the City View Mustangs last week 28-7 so it would be a mistake to underestimate them based on the season record. Kickoff for the Regional game is scheduled for 6pm. The playoff bracket has a possible rematch with Gunter on the horizon should the Holliday Eagles advance.

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