The Eagles football team recorded a quarterfinal round win in the Class 2, District 6 Tournament as Holden defeated Lexington by the final score of 32-6 on Friday, October 27.
Two lost fumbles by the No. 3 seed Eagles in the first half were evened out by a blocked punt and a fumble recovery by the Holden defense in the second half as Holden’s defense held No. 6 seed Lexington scoreless until the final minutes of the game.
With the win, Holden moves on in district play to face St. Michael the Archangel in the semifinal round of the district tournament.
“I am so proud of these kids,” said Holden football coach David Diener. “I mean, there isn’t anything easy about ending a group’s career. They have a group of seniors on that team…Lexington’s got a group of kids that wants to keep playing just as bad as we do. It’s hard to end careers. They came out, they made good plays on us, forced us to make plays, and we’re a couple of mistakes away in the first half from being up 21-nothing.
“We have to just continue to make sure that we clean up those things. They’re uncharacteristic things, but we have to continue to clean those things up because we’re going to have to play a cleaner game to beat St. Michaels. The main thing is I’m extremely proud of these kids. That is a goal for us every year is to make sure that we win first round of the playoffs and be in the top-half of the state, so I’m extremely proud for us to be able to check that box. Now, let’s clean up what we need to clean up, and get ourselves ready to play a very tough St. Michaels team that we feel is a good match-up for us.”
Holden’s first miscue occurred on the second play of the game when senior CJ Reifsteck fumbled the ball to Lexington during a nice gain on a carry by Reifsteck.
Reifsteck would gain redemption after the Minutemen failed to gain traction following the turnover, and punted the ball back to Holden.
On the Eagles’ ensuing possession, Reifsteck hauled in a 26-yard reception to put Holden on the four-yard line of the Minutemen. On first-and-goal, Reifsteck carried for a four-yard touchdown run to put the first points of the game on the board. Senior kicker Lane Inglis added the extra-point for a 7-0 lead at the 3:32 mark of the first period.
On Holden’s first possession of the second quarter, Reifsteck would fumble once again with the Minutemen finding the recovery.
Lexington failed to find points after its second opportunity off of an Eagle turnover, and punted the ball back to Holden.
With both teams trading possessions to close out a scoreless second period, the halftime score stood at 7-0.
“You’ve got to give credit to Lexington because they were able to take advantage of those things, run the clock, and get some first downs,” said coach Diener. “Our defense absolutely played outstanding. The defensive line played one of their best games.
“Trent Stout, you could tell that he’s had two weeks now at middle backer because he continued to make steps forward where he was in the right place more often,” noted coach Diener. “Then, our secondary was able to lock down their receivers, so overall our defense played absolutely outstanding. I’m extremely proud of how they did. They gave up only six points.
“Then second half, we knew what we wanted to do. We liked our adjustments that we made at halftime, and we came out and executed. We’ve done that over, and over, and over again this year, and have been a great third quarter team. Now, we need to be a great first quarter team so we can continue in this playoff stretch. That’s going to be a goal of ours this week is to make sure that we can come out and be that great first quarter offense that we’ve seen here.”
A stalled Lexington drive to open the third quarter prompted the Minutemen to line up to punt the ball to Holden.
Eagle defender Jacob Andes broke through the Lexington line on the punt and got a hand on the ball for a block that set Holden up deep in Minutemen territory.
Senior running back Reco Jenkins turned the blocked punt into points on a six-yard touchdown carry with just under four minutes played in the second half. A missed extra-point kick left the score at 13-0 as the Eagles gained momentum off of the Andes block.
“We emphasized blocking a punt this week,” said coach Diener after the game. “We really know that if you can get a special teams play like that in a playoff game, that you can really put pressure on another team. For us to win that special teams battle tonight was a goal of ours. I was proud to see that squad get that done. What we were hoping would happen early, we were able to get done there.”
A fumbled snap by Lexington on their possession following the Jenkins touchdown run ended up in the hands of Eagle middle linebacker Stout as the junior player continued to make an impact on the field while filling in for the injured Tucker Kauffman. Stout would finish with a team-high 14 total tackles, and recorded two pass break ups to go with his fumble recovery.
After Stout’s recovery, a 17-yard carry by running back Sam Comer set Holden up at first-and-goal on the Lexington seven-yard line. Following a two-yard carry by senior running back Jayden Davis-Hacker, Jenkins toted the pigskin to the end zone for the final five yards, and Holden’s third score of the game. A second missed extra-point kick left the score at 19-0 as the Eagles benefited from two Lexington mistakes.
Following a turnover on downs by the Minutemen on their possession following the Jenkins touchdown carry, Reifsteck pulled down a reception on a pass from senior quarterback Lane Siemer. After securing the catch, Reifsteck sprinted 58 yards to the end zone to give the Eagles a 25-0 advantage with under a minute to play in the third period.
Lexington found the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter on a lengthy, time-consuming drive that ended with Minuteman Jace Gore carrying for a two-yard touchdown. The two-point pass attempt fell incomplete to leave the score at 25-6 with 3:59 left in the game.
On Holden’s next possession, a 24-yard carry by Davis-Hacker that was followed by an eight-yard carry by Comer put the Eagles offense on the 11-yard line of Lexington.
Reifsteck covered the final 11 yards on a first down carry to the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the game, and his third total score on the night. Inglis tacked on the extra-point kick to set the final score at 32-6.
“We just needed to feel confident coming out of that game, and I really think with the second half that we were able to finish,” said coach Diener.
“We were able to overcome the adversity that we faced first half. It’s good to put yourself in those tough situations where you’ve got to come back and battle. Those things are going to happen in a playoff stretch, but we need to continue to challenge ourselves to be cleaner as we move forward here because we want to keep practicing on Monday. That’s our goal right now – you’ve got to win on Friday to practice on Monday.
That’s our cry here this week that’s going to keep fueling us for this next Friday.”
Reifsteck ended the game with all of Holden’s 3 receptions on the night as he totaled 95 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown.
Siemer went 3-for-3 on pass attempts in the game with Reifsteck’s 95 yards representing Holden’s total passing yardage, and his touchdown reception standing for Holden’s score through the Eagles’ air attack.
Reifsteck added 47 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 3 carries.
Jenkins totaled 2 touchdowns and 75 yards on 17 carries. Davis-Hacker had 62 rushing yards on 7 carries. Comer compiled 51 yards on 4 carries.
Inglis converted 2 extra-point kicks in the district win. Cohen Drake had 1 kickoff return for 4 yards. Reifsteck punted 2 times for 59 total yards.
On defense, Stout’s team-high 14 tackles included 5 solo tackles, 9 assisted takedowns, and 1 tackle for loss.
Andes totaled 9 tackles with 1 TFL, and 1 sack. Sauren Folson had 9 tackles (2TFL), and broke up 2 passes. Wes Brown recorded 8 total tackles.
Matthew Reynolds had 7 tackles. Isaac Bell and Andrew Johnston each had 6 tackles. Bell’s total included 1 TFL. Kasyn Tevis totaled 4 tackles, and broke up 2 passes. Reifsteck had 3 tackles (2 TFL). Justin Brown and Kale Tryon also totaled 3 tackles. Justin Brown had 1 pass break up.
Danny Mailath finished with 2 tackles as Brody Bockover chipped in 1 tackle. Seth Wright recorded 1 pass break up.
After the Holden football team’s district quarterfinal win over Lexington, the Eagles held an overall record of 7-4 on the season.
The Holden football team travels to face St. Michael the Archangel for a Class 2, District 6 semifinal match-up this Friday, Nov. 3. The game against St. Michael the Archangel will be played at Lee’s Summit West High School. Game time is 7 p.m.