The Eagles football team overcame two deficits in a win against Knob Noster by the final score of 27-16 in Holden’s Senior Night game Friday, Oct. 20.
Senior team members Isaac Bell, Jayden Davis-Hacker, Lane Inglis, Reco Jenkins, Andrew Johnston, Aiden Morarity, Carson Moreno, CJ Reifsteck, Matthew Reynolds, Lane Seimer, and foreign exchange players Adne Gamst-Eriksen and Gerard Costa were recognized prior to the game.
Senior team members provided multiple key plays on the night as Holden defended its home turf to end the regular season with a victory.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough battle up front,” said Holden football coach David Diener. “We knew we would be able to block their front line, but we knew we had to pick up their linebackers and secondary coming fast.
“We knew that when we wanted to throw, we had a good opportunity to hit deep, and Lane absolutely put every pass that we gave him the opportunity, he put it on the money,” continued coach Diener. “CJ both offensively and defensively, had an absolutely incredible game. We know that for us to make a deep playoff run, he’s got to keep making plays like he did tonight.”
A scoring drought for both teams that marked the entire first quarter extended deep into the second period until Eagle senior CJ Reifsteck scored on a 30-yard touchdown run at the 5:38 mark. Senior kicker Lane Inglis kicked the extra-point to give Holden a 7-0 lead.
Knob Noster responded to take an 8-7 lead before halftime on a one-yard touchdown run on a bootleg keeper by Panther quarterback Trey Payne, and a successful two-point conversion.
Early in the third quarter, Holden junior defensive back Kasyn Tevis sparked a scoring drive for Holden by intercepting a pass by Payne on a Panther goal-to-go play.
Holden turned the interception into points on a two-yard touchdown carry by senior running back Jayden Davis-Hacker. A failed extra-point kick left Holden in the lead with the score at 13-8 for the remainder of the third period.
Payne would open fourth quarter scoring on a 13-yard keeper at the 7:35 mark. A successful two-point conversion put the Eagles in a 16-13 deficit.
That deficit was cancelled by Eagle senior running back Reco Jenkins when he crossed the goal line on a three-yard carry. Inglis nailed the extra-point kick to give Holden a 20-16 lead.
On Knob Noster’s ensuing drive, Eagle junior defensive back Kale Tryon intercepted a Payne pass to give the ball back to Holden with 4:28 remaining in the game.
The Senior Night victory was sealed when Eagle senior quarterback Lane Siemer ended an extended drive on a 10-yard carry by breaking through multiple Panther tacklers to reach the end zone. Inglis tacked on the extra-point kick to set the score at 27-16 with 1:07 left in the game.
“Lane’s run on fourth down was incredible,” said coach Diener. “We knew we would be where he should be able to clear and get to the second level, but he was going to have to make a guy miss or do something special…and he did both. He ran over, he slashed, he cut, and made an absolutely incredible run. He was just not stopped. He was undenied going in. I was extremely proud of his commitment to learning the spot and the growth that he’s made coming second half of week three to his Senior Night, and for him to come through like did tonight was very outstanding. I’m very proud of him.”
Eagle senior defensive back Matthew Reynolds intercepted a Payne pass with seconds remaining on the clock to stifle any thoughts of a Panther comeback.
Following Reynolds’s interception, Siemer and the Eagles lined up in victory formation for one play to run out the clock on the Senior Night victory.
“Defensively, we knew that we were going to have to match up and force them to make plays,” said coach Diener. “We knew they were going to throw that much. They ran the ball a little bit better than we were wanting them to. They made good plays, and their running backs made good plays. We forced them to beat us in one-on-one situations, and for most of the night, we won.
“There were a couple plays that they made where the quarterback ran on his touchdown run, a couple other times with kids getting loose, but we knew if we forced them into those situations, they were going to give us chances to make plays on jump balls,” continued coach Diener. “For our secondary to come through and have the interceptions that they did tonight was outstanding. For CJ to come up and set edges on the run was outstanding. I’m just extremely proud of how they were able to adapt to what Knob Noster wanted to do as quickly as they could, and for them to play lights out like they did in the fourth quarter getting the turnovers was outstanding.
“When they scored, we were either going to score and have to stop them, or have to stop them so we can get the ball back for another chance to score to win the game. So we knew we had to have one more stop, and for our offense to go through, slash down the field like we did…for Jayden to have big runs, for Reco to have big runs, CJ to have big runs, we got our guys chances to make the plays, and they did it.”
For the Holden senior players the win over Knob Noster marks their final home victory with district play set to begin this Friday.
“I’m learning now as a head coach that the longer I’m around with these kids, the harder Senior Night gets,” said coach Diener. “For us to play this game at such a high level forces us to push these kids to their absolute best limit. What’s nice is the reward of winning is a reason why you can push them, but you still feel extremely proud of them for responding to the pushing that we give them as a coaching staff. We force them to absolutely try their absolute best all the time, and when somebody does that for you and all of a sudden they’re starting to run out of games, it’s tough to see them go because of the work that they’ve done for you.
“I’m just so proud of this senior group,” continued coach Diener. “They’ve been 100 percent part of the turn around from the beginning. A lot of these guys played as sophomores, and the guys who were rotators as sophomores turned themselves into varsity athletes to be elite high school players. For them to come out and experience a game like this, and make championship plays like they did, senior after senior after senior that was doing it…our underclassmen came through too, but Siemer’s night at quarterback was outstanding. CJ’s game at outside backer and offensively was outstanding. Reynolds at corner, not only just in coverage, but then also a big pick to seal it. Johnston and Bell’s defensive play all night was incredible. Bell had multiple tackles for loss. Johnston had big plays in stopping the run game. Then, Inglis on our PATs, those are big points. For him to be able to pump those last two through, I mean those are the difference between forcing them to have to have a touchdown or a chance to tie it with a field goal. For Adne to come through and kick like he’s been kicking for us, it’s been a big help just because of his ability to put the ball high in the air allows us time to get down there. I’m just extremely proud of their contributions, and what they’ve been able to do for us. It makes our playoff run so important because I’m not done coaching these seniors. I want to produce for them so we can keep practicing and playing game together because I’m not done coaching them yet. I’m not done coaching them yet. We’ve got to keep winning, so I can.”
Siemer ended the game with 1 touchdown and 18 yards on 6 carries.
Reifsteck had a team-high 100 rushing yards to go with 1 touchdown on 9 carries. Jenkins toted the pigskin for 1 touchdown and 80 total yards on 26 carries. Davis-Hacker had 1 touchdown and 39 yards on 8 carries. Sam Comer had 4 yards on 2 carries.
Siemer completed all 3 of his pass attempts and ended with 67 total passing yards.
Ryan Hough had 1 catch for 35 yards. Reifsteck had 1 catch for 32 yards. Cohen Drake caught 1 pass for no gain.
Inglis converted 3 extra-point kicks. Hough had 1 kickoff return for 17 yards, Davis-Hacker had 1 kickoff return for 16 yards, and Seth Wright had 1 kickoff return for 4 yards. Reifsteck punted 1 time for 28 yards.
On defense, Reifsteck had a team-high 12 tackles (9 solo, 3 assists, 3 TFL, 1 sack). Trent Stout and Wes Brown each had 10 tackles with each recording 2 tackles for loss. Sauren Folson totaled 9 tackles (3 TFL, 2 sacks). Justin Brown also totaled 9 tackles. Tevis had 8 total tackles.
Johnston and Tryon each had 6 tackles. Reynolds totaled 5 tackles. Jacob Andes had 4 tackles. Bell had 2 tackles (1 TFL). Aiden Christian chipped in for 1 tackle. Reynolds, Tevis, and Tryon each had 1 interception.
After Holden’s Senior Night win over Knob Noster, the Eagles football team finishes the regular season with an overall record of 6-3. The Holden football team finishes the MRVC-East season with a mark of 4-1 to place second in the conference.
The Holden football team begins Class 2, District 6 play as the No. 3 seed with a home game against No. 6 seed Lexington this Friday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.