HOLLY – After falling to Linden last week after starting its season on a high note, Holly went into Friday night looking to get back on the right track, but knew it would have its hands full with visiting Fenton, which started the season with two convincing wins.
Despite a strong effort from its defense on Friday night, Holly couldn’t overcome the balanced offensive attack and dominant defensive effort from Fenton as the Tigers rolled their way to a 20-0 win.
Holly head coach Ryan Culloty said he felt his team’s defense played well on Friday night as the Bronchos managed to contain a high-octane Fenton offense and keep their team in the game for the vast majority of the night.
“I thought our defense played well,” he said. “That’s a pretty explosive offensive team when you look at what they’ve done in the last two games and they have put a lot of numbers on the board. Our kids fought well, the seniors, I feel hard for, because this was their last chance in the Fenton game and that’s a big offensive line that they (Fenton) have and my hat goes off to Fenton, they were the better team tonight.”
Coming out of halftime with a 13-0 lead, Fenton went in to its opening drive in the second half looking to burn as much clock as possible to keep Holly from cutting into its lead.
A one yard touchdown run from quarterback James Claborn capped off a 16 play 74 yard drive that used nearly nine minutes of the clock to give the Tigers a three score lead, 20-0 late in the third quarter.
Fenton head coach Jeff Setzke said that the first series of the second half went exactly as planned for his squad as the Tigers wanted to keep the Holly offense off the field, which is exactly what they did all third quarter, as Holly ran three offensive plays in the frame.
“That drive coming out of the half was 16 plays and took nine minutes off the clock and that’s exactly what we wanted to do,” he said. “Because if they (Holly) scores, they’re right back in the game and if they don’t have the ball, they can’t score. It was an excellent effort on the offensive line’s part, every time we called their play, they got it done for us.”
Throughout the final 15 minutes of the game, Fenton managed to drain the clock behind its rushing attack, while also continuing to play suffocating defense to slow down Holly on both sides of the ball late.
Culloty said that the difference in Friday’s game was the rushing attack from Fenton as the Tigers constantly used their massive offensive line to pick up big chunks of yardage on the ground, while wearing down the Holly defense for much of the night.
“That’s the trouble with having some smaller guys,” he said. “They (Fenton) averages 245 across the board, and two tackles that go 280, so when you lean on that and don’t get off the field like we’re supposed to, it’s going to weigh on you later in the game. Fenton did a good job of executing in the run game and that was probably the difference tonight.”
Fenton started the scoring early in the first quarter as the Tigers started with a short field and not long after took a 6-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Claborn to senior receiver Scott Lukas.
Then, in the early stages of the second quarter, Fenton pushed its lead to 13-0 as Claborn connected with Zach Kotska for a seven yard touchdown with 10:25 left to play before halftime.
Setzke noted that his team went into Friday night’s matchup looking to establish its running game, and during all three scoring drives, his team was able to run the ball effectively against the Holly defense throughout the game.
“We came with a purpose tonight,” he said. “We thought against that odd front, we would be able to run on them and we did and they dropped into a 40 and we still ran on them, so I couldn’t be more pleased. Our backs ran hard and our quarterback’s a tough kid and showed he could run the football tonight. So I think we’re going to make teams pick what they’re going to do against us, because we can throw 30-40 times a game, but it’s nice to run the football as well.”
Late in the first half, with the Bronchos looking to find some offensive success to start to chip into the Fenton lead, quarterback Jake Zorn connected with receiver Adam Tooley for a long catch and run, but a big play down field from a Fenton defender, knocked the ball loose, ending the Holly drive and allowing Fenton to go into halftime with a 13-0 advantage.