By Bill Bray
TOLEDO – The Little Giants struggled for three quarters in their game at the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl before using two Kaden Holmes touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to squeak out the win.
St. Francis dominated the first quarter possession time. After a fake punt gave them a new set of downs, the Knights had the ball half of the 12 minutes. They hit paydirt on a one yard run by Taven Horton. Travis Kenner added the extra point and St. Francis took the early 7-0 lead.
The Little Giants got the ball at the 6:14 mark of the first quarter for their initial drive. The Little Giants were not themselves throught the first half of play. The lackluster play was evident almost from their very first offensive snap. With the ball on St. Francis’ 33-yard line, Holmes called his own number and broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run with :57 left in the first quarter.
The Knights answered back with less than two minutes gone in the second quarter. Horton again scored for St Francis. This time from three yards out. Kenner’s extra point was good, and the Knights were up 14-6.
“I really believed we lacked energy tonight,” an unhappy Chad Long said after the messy win. “We dropped more passes tonight than I have seen in quite a while. We missed so many blocks that I haven’t seen missed all season so far. I just cannot stress it enough that we had absolutely no energy.”
The Little Giants behind the sore foot of Holmes, were able to close the gap to two points with :23 remaining in the first half. Ross again struggled with points after touchdown. After their first kick was blocked the second attempt for two points was unsuccessful.
For the first time in 2022 the Little Giants were shutout in the third quarter. The positive thing here was that the Ross defense behind Mason Villarreal and company held the Knights scoreless as well. With this, the game went into the fourth quarter with St. Francis up 14-12.
Finally on the first Ross drive of the fourth quarter, Holmes’ receivers started catching some passes led by seniors Bryson Hammer and Adam Hrynciw. The key play of the drive was a 23-yard strike to seldom used senior Michael Patterson. With the ball on the four-yard line, Holmes again found an opening behind his offensive line, and he sneaked in from four yards out to give Ross a 18-14 lead. The PAT again was unsuccessful.
The defense rose to the occasion in the second half. Ross held the Knights offense to a consolation score with :24 left in the game. 3:00 earlier Holmes again broke free for a six-yard score as Ross took a 25-14 lead before the Knights final score. After Fremont’s final score they were successful on their first PAT with a kick by Carter Rodriguez.
The Ross defense got to the St. Francis quarterback six times for 26 yards in losses. The Ross offense had 348 yards in total offense while St Francis had 260 yards.
Kaden Holmes passed for 217 yards on 23-35 passing with one interception. St. Francis’ Cameron Swiger hit on 16 of 24 passes for 161 yards with one touchdown.
Holmes led the Ross running game carrying the ball 14 times for 72 yards and four scores. Kelandre Jones carried the pigskin 10 times and gained 44 yards.
Bryson Hammer led the Ross receiving corps. hauling in 10 passes for 85 yards.
Mason Villarreal was a beast on defense. The senior linebacker had 8.5 tackles, one solo tackle and 15 assists.
OTHER TRAC SCORES
Toledo Whitmer 38, Findlay 14
Toledo Central Catholic 28, Toledo St. John’s 7
Oregon Clay 42, Lima Sr. 14