Two big catches and one controversial incompletion proved the difference between a Holtville homecoming victory and the crushing last-minute defeat that was reality Friday night, as the Bulldogs fell to Beauregard, 12-9.
"I'm just disappointed in a lot of aspects tonight, but it's something we can get back to work on and fix," Bulldogs head coach Jason Franklin said. "It's got to be fixed."
Neither team was able to score in the first half. But the action picked up late, following almost two hours of delay as a thunderstorm rolled through Slapout. When play resumed with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter, Beauregard found itself punting from inside the 10.
Holtville senior lineman Malachi Shaw blew up the play, knocking the ball loose. And as the Hornets' punter recovered the ball in the end zone, Braxton Potts put him down for the safety. With a shortened field, the Bulldogs' running attack stormed down the soggy turf led by sophomore Drew Pickett.
Pickett lead the way rushing, with 111 yards, while his stablemate, Shawn Brackett, punched in the Bulldogs' lone touchdown as the fourth quarter opened. Quarterback Braxton Buck threw for 94 yards under soggy, challenging circumstances.
But two big defensive slips in the fourth quarter dashed Holtville's hopes for a late night victory. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Hornets quarterback Gavin Prickett threw a perfect spiral into the misty air to hit Tyler Gordon in stride for a 78-yard touchdown.
The Bulldogs answered with a long, clock draining drive that took them inside the five-yard line. But a big sack of Buck and a penalty spoiled the promising drive.
Beauregard again made Holtville pay for its mistakes. Prickett struck again, finding Kelvin Malloy for a 65-yard touchdown with less than two minutes to play.
Holtville tried to assemble a last-minute drive. But a final heave to the end zone by Buck couldn't be hauled in by Brady White, and the defeat was final. Fans screamed for an interference call, but no flag flew.
"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Franklin said. "We've got to score touchdowns when we have chances like that."
The Bulldogs finished the evening 228 yards of total offense, 134 on the ground. Copelin Gilliand led the team with eight tackles, and Cade Law grabbed an interception.