Holly Pond squeaks by Falkville, 13-7
Dan Vinson, Enquirer Correspondent
The Holly Pond Broncos narrowly escaped the Falkville Blue Devils Friday night by holding onto a 13-7 victory at Burl Vest Stadium.
It was yet another great defensive showing for the playoff-bound Blue Devils as they shut out the Broncos in the first half.
"We had a terrible time in the first half," Holly Pond head coach Scott Adams said. "My hat goes off to Coach Estes. He has made his team into a fine football team."
Both offenses struggled most of the night to gain any yards against the opposing defense, which resulted in a scoreless first half.
Holly Pond's first offensive possession resulted in a loss of three yards as the Falkville defense held strong. The tone of the game was established early as the Blue Devil defense had huge hits against the Broncos' ball carriers.
Falkville had a golden opportunity to score early in the first quarter when on their second possession of the game Blake Jump took a pitch and rambled 41 yards to the Bronco 16-yard line. But on first down freshman quarterback Jonathan McNatt threw an interception as he was forced out of the pocket.
The second half saw Holly Pond move the ball on its first possession. Bronco running back Randy Lee Brock had a 20-yard gain. Needing a big defensive play, the Blue Devils received one when Kevin Russell intercepted a Bronco pass to stop the advancing offense.
After shutting down the Blue Devil offense, Holly Pond got the ball back and marched all the way to the 1-yard line. With the Broncos having four chances to gain a yard, the Falkville defense had to rise to the occasion. The defense held for three plays including a big stop by Falkville's Caleb Ashley.
But on fourth down and inches Holly Pond was able to pound the ball into the end zone, taking a 7-0 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter Holly Pond extended its lead after Brock ran 43 yards to set up a late touchdown and give the Broncos a 13-0 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
With the Blue Devil offense struggling to move the ball, the game appeared to be in hand for the Broncos but that was far from the case. On the ensuing kickoff McNatt caught the ball and instead of running, threw a backward pass to his teammate who ran the ball into Bronco territory.
On the next play, McNatt was able to find Jeremy Stiles for a big gain and then threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Russell. The score was suddenly 13-7 with less than two minutes left in the game.
Falkville lined up for an onside kick hoping to recover the ball and have one more chance for victory. The ball was kicked and bounced into the air giving the Devils a chance for recovery. Holly Pond was able to pounce on the ball and then run out the clock giving them a hard fought six-point victory.
Falkville head coach Neil Estes was quick to take responsibility for the offensive struggles.
In his assessment the problem was, "My play calling. I called some dud plays and we never could get into a rhythm. This is one of the most physical teams we will play all year."
The Blue Devils will finish the regular season on the road against J.B. Pennington before starting the playoffs under first year coach Estes.