Thursday, September 14, 2006
Holly High falls hard to Raiders
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Holly High Hawks welcomed the Red Raiders of Shannon Friday in their third non-district contest of the early season.
The Hawks were seeking their first win of the early season. They had been denied twice before.
The visitors were first over the ball and took over at the 37. The quarterback, Mike Ledbetter, would start from the shotgun. Ledbetter uncorked a long one to Tupe Watkins and the wide receiver was all alone in the secondary. The gods smiled early for the Hawks. Ledbetter dropped the ball on the next play, picked it up, lost the handle and Jeremy Boyd snatched it in mid-air at full gallop. No Raider even got close as the Hawks drew first blood.
The kickoff was short, and the Raiders picked it up and went to the 40. Ledbetter faked everyone out and scored. A clipping penalty forced the extra point try to be moved to the 18. It failed. The score was tied 6-6.
The Hawks went four and out. But they covered a fumble on Shannon’s second play. The offense sputtered again and they had to punt away. The quarter came to a close.
The Raiders moved the ball consistently down field. The Hawks were not consistently reading the pass.
A roughing the passer call bought the Raiders a first at the 20. They inched the ball closer and then Ledbetter made a toss to Jay Johnson. They converted for two and a 14-6 lead with nine minutes left in the half.
Ledbetter was still using the sideline pattern effectively and pitched another scoring strike to Darius Young. The point-after try was blocked. The score was 20-6.
Desley Brown took the Raiders kick and rambled 80 yards for paydirt. Marvin Lucas converted for the deuce and the Hawks had closed the gap to six.
The ensuing kick was returned to the 11. Holly High held and the Raiders were fourth and one from the 4, but they punched it in and moved to 26-14 with 4:22 left.
The Hawks’ offense was still searching for proficiency although their punter was getting off high, long kicks, However, the Raiders were claiming good field position. Watkins took another handoff and scored again for Shannon. The extra point try was blocked.
The Raiders got the ball back with 23 seconds left and Ledbetter hit Young again for the halftime score of 38-14
The third quarter was a see-saw with the Hawks sacking the quarterback at the 45. But Ledbetter wasn’t done; he dusted himself off and caught Cielo Clark on a long bomb. They converted for two and led 46-14.
The visitors closed the third quarter with an interception and a 52-14 mark.
The last quarter saw the Hawks’ offense making some advances. Trayven Howell went to the air with short passes that took them to the 15. Howell threw a flare to a streaking Courtney Bowen, who put Holly High on the board again. No extra point, so it was 52-20.
Try as they may, the Hawks could not stop the Raiders from scoring twice more for a final score of 64-20.
Coach Clifford Brown was optimistic.
“We have gotten through three tough tests,” he said. “We start district play next Friday and I feel that we will be ready. We should have some more help from players who have been on the injured list.”
Brown cited Howell as most valuable player for the Shannon game, relating that the quarterback kept his composure under dire circumstances.
“Even when the protection wasn’t there, he kept his poise,” Brown said.
The Hawks face North Panola on the road. The Tigers are also 0-3 following a 26-9 loss last Friday night to Tunica Rosa Fort.
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