In last years’ game between the Beechwood Tigers and Holmes Bulldogs, the Tigers were able to escape Tom Ellis Field in Covington with a 21-13 win. The Beechies wouldn’t be as lucky Friday night on their home field, however, as the Dogs took care of business and came away with a 33-21 win in Fort Mitchell.
Things started off rough for the Tigers as Gage Erdman fumbled the handoff on the very first play to give Holmes great field position at the Beechwood 42. The Tigers defense came in though and was able to force a 3 and out against the Holmes offense.
It was then the Gage Erdman show. Erdman fumbled again on his second hand off but would redeem himself. Carrying the ball 8 straight times, Erdamn led the Tigers from their own 9, all the way down to the Holmes 6. The biggest run of them all came on his last carry, a 28 yard pick up to get the Tigers down to the Holmes 6. Two plays later, Beechwood QB Cameron Lane found Jack Talley for an 8 yard touchdown strike to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 6:06 left in the first quarter.
On Holmes next possession, the Tigers defense would step up big once again.
After a Jon Scruggs kickoff return all the way down to the Beechwood 10, Sr Colin Justice came up with a sack on QB B.J Coston to push the Holmes offense back to the 25. Coston tried to find Peterson in the end zone but an offensive pass interference turned the ball over on downs.
Holmes’ defense would then provide arguably the biggest play of the game and change momentum. After an Erdman no gain, Cam Lane was picked off by Jameel Cutright on a screen attempt that would be brought back 25 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
“That was big. He’s been working hard all year.” Said Holmes Coach Terry Liggin. “Good things come to those who work hard.”
On Beechwood’s next possession, the Holmes defense again came up with an interception, this time it was Bruce Scruggs. Consistency on defense is something that Coach Liggin has been preaching to his team all summer, and especially this week to help prepare them.
Holmes offense was unable to capitalize but field position would play a huge role in their defense keeping the Tigers out of the end zone the rest of the half.
Starting the second quarter, the Tigers had the ball at their own 10. Gage Erdman would pick up 20 yards, but it would cost him the rest of the night, and possibly season as he went out with a leg injury. Erdamn finished with 99 yards on just 12 carries.
“We’re in the middle of tough times.” Said Coach Rash of Beechwood.
With Erdman out, Holmes offense would go to work.
After getting the ball back with 7:20 to go in the half, the Dogs would put together a 15 play 77 yard drive that took 6:54 off the clock. The drive started with 21 yards in 4 plays from Mikekale Scruggs, Bj Coston, and Jamon Scruggs. Senior Dasean Peterson would then get involved with a 10 yard catch to extend the drive on 3rd down. It was then Jr Jon Scruggs turn as he picked up 20 yards in the next two plays on a 12 yard catch and 8 yard run to the Beechwood 15. Four plays later, Sr BJ Coston called his own number and took in from 4 yards out to give Holmes a 14-7 lead with 29 seconds left in the half.
“That gave us momentum.” Said Coach Liggin in regards to the play. “That’s a championship caliber team and we’re trying to become a championship level team.”
“O-line controlled the game for us.” Said Coston. “Coach told us don’t get complacent after that touchdown. We still have two quarters to play.”
Despite having the lead, Holmes was outgained in the first half 122 yard to 109 yards.
Coach Rash wasn’t as vocal. “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”
Holmes would come out in the second half and continue to follow their Coach and his advice.
Starting at their own 35, after a kick out of bounds to start the third quarter, the Dogs would continue the scoring with an 8 play, 65 yard drive to put them ahead 20-7. The big play of the drive came on 4th and 8 when Jon Scruggs faked a punt and picked up 12 yards to get the first down and extend the drive. On the very next play, Coston found Sr Dasean Peterson for a 40 yard touchdown with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.
“That was one of those plays I was just feeling it.” Said Peterson of the touchdown catch. “I’m trying to be a leader both on and off the field for my teammates and I felt that play was just me leading by example.”
Peterson finished with 125 yards receiving on just 4 catches.
The next drive for Beechwood, disaster would strike again. After driving in to Holmes territory, quarterback Cameron Lane was hit and fumbled, which would be recoverd by Mikekale Scruggs of Holmes at the Holmes 44 with 6:47 remaining in the third quarter.
On the next play, it looked like Holmes would put the game away. Coston found Peterson for a 55 yard catch and run to the Beechwood 1 yard line and you could see the Holmes sideline start to feel a W. That feeling wouldn’t last long, however, as the very next snap was fumbled and recovered by the Tigers.
A big break for the Tigers, but once again the offense couldn’t capitalize as they would be forced to punt several plays later.
Holmes then had to get a taste of the injury bug themselves. After leading the Dogs down to the Beechwood 10 on a 7 yard run to end the third quarter, BJ Coston would injure his knee and be forced to the sideline for the rest of the game.
After the game, Coston said the knee was fine and he’d be ready for Simon Kenton next week. With Coston out, Senior Domonic Cheek was called upon to try and lead the Holmes offense…and lead Cheek would do.
After back to back false starts and incompletion on his first three snaps, Cheek found Marc Wilson on 4th and 20 for a 20 yard touchdown to extend the Holmes lead to 26-7 with 11:45 left in the game.
Next possession, Cheek once again would lead the Holmes offense and prove himself. Starting at their own 40, Cheek led an 11 play, 60 yard drive, capped off by a 17 yard keeper by Cheek to extend the lead to 33-7. Cheek had 47 yards on 5 carries during the drive and finished the game with 51 yards on 7 carries with a touchdown and 73 all purpose yards in just one quarter of play.
“We were able to rep Domonic all summer.” Said Coach Liggin after the game. “We did a good job getting him a lot of reps so he is very comfortable with the offense. He did a great job coming off the bench. I told him he may get an opportunity to play, and he came in ready.”
Beechwood would take on two late scores, a 41 yard Cam Lane run with 3:38 left and a Lane to Talley 15 yard pass with 39 seconds left, but it would be too little, too late as Holmes gave Coach Liggin a ice water bath to start the celebration.
“It’s a great win for our program.” Said Coach Liggin in the post game interview. “I’m proud of our kids and they’ve worked very hard. It feels good to be 2-0 right now.”
Coach Liggin felt being concistent was the biggest key to the victory,
“We talk to our kids about doing the same thing and doing it right all the time. If they can do that both on and off the field, they can be successful. We still have a long way to go though. Our kids are ready.”
Coach Rash, facing an 0-2 start, felt this was a teaching moment for his team.
“This is why you get in to coaching. It isn’t all about wins and losses, but rather teaching young boys to be men and this is one of the challenges we’re going to have to face.”
Holmes finished the game with a very balanced attack as they racked up 330 total yards, 171 rushing and 159 passing to Beechwood’s 198 yards.
The Dogs improve to 2-0 with Simon Kenton next week.
Beechwood (0-2) will look to rebound against Holy Cross.