Jarmal Kendrick uses the umpire to regain his balance after taking a shot from a Clanton linebacker during the second half of Friday's H-Day game against Chilton County.
Jarmal Kendrick uses the umpire to regain his balance after taking a shot from a Clanton linebacker during the second half of Friday's H-Day game against Chilton County.

Bulldogs, 5A Tigers tangle in spring session’s last affair

Published 2:00am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

While the scoreboard might not have reflected it, second-year Holtville football coach Hunter Adams could see the positives as his squad went toe-to-toe with 5A Chilton County Friday night at Boykin Field.

“I felt that in no way were we physically overmatched in any situation,” he said. “I thought we did great in terms of our guys matching up with theirs. But we had quite a few mental breakdowns that cost us.”

Adams highlighted a trio of bad snaps that led to stalled drives, turnovers and two busted coverage assignments which led to Tigers’ touchdowns.

“All of these wounds were self-inflicted,” said Adams. “We’ve got to hit the ground running for the next two and a half months to be ready for that first week.”

Holtville opens the year by hosting 12-win W.S. Neal before running the region gauntlet with games against Handley, Dadeville and Central-Clay.

“I feel like we’ve got a bunch of work to do, but we’ve got guys that are willing and eager to do that work,” said Adams.

The Bulldogs took the field Friday night with new faces dotting the depth chart. More notable was Zac Davis stepping in for Hayden Lott (graduation) at quarterback.

“I thought he handled himself incredibly well,” said Adams. “Friday was the first time running a lot of this offense against a live defense, in a live environment. We had some weather issues and some inconsistent snaps, but he never panicked.”

Photos from Holtville’s 2013 H-Day Game

Case in point, Davis fielded a bad snap and instead of falling to the ground or trying to force a play, he takes a two-step drop and fired the ball out of bounds to kill the play.

“He’s grown into a really good leader,” said Adams. “He had a really good read on a quarterback option that went for about 45, but got called back on a holding penalty.”

Jarmal Kendrick also returned to his role as the Bulldogs’ lead running back.

“He’s capable of doing some really good and special things out there,” said Adams. “He scored our first touchdown, but, he also had a fumble and was part of blown coverage.”

But Adams sees a teachable moment.

“Even when your bell cows see they have to survive and improve that makes them more competitive and helps strengthen the team,” said Adams.

Offensively, Holtville scored on their first possession. From there though, Chilton County began to march up and down the field using a read option to frustrate the Bulldogs defense.

“I really think it was a case of our guys being really keyed up and crashing too hard on the dive,” said Adams. “They weren’t playing responsible assignment football.”

Chilton County’s signal-caller would read the Bulldogs defensive end and then either pitch or keep.

“It was a one-player, one-read scenario,” said Adams. “Our defensive end did not do a good job of slow-playing the option and forcing him to choose.”

The defense wasn’t without bright spots though.

Most notably Will Hogan.

“He did exactly what I needed him to do at the nose guard position,” said Adams. “He was in the backfield on 85 percent of their plays.”

Hogan finished with five tackles for loss and an interception.

“Devon Goodwin is another one,” said Adams. “He had a sound game getting downfield and physical at outside linebacker.”

Adams remains excited about the Bulldogs.

“There’s nothing that happened Friday night that can’t be corrected. Most of the mistakes were mental,” said Adams. “I saw great effort. And good coaching can remedy those mistakes.”

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