By Michael Bryant
The Cullman Times
HOLLY POND —
Heart, effort and will. Those are the things that can’t be measured in statistics on the football field.
But the Holly Pond Broncos showed those qualities and more, despite falling to the Brindlee Mountain Lions 28-15 Friday night.
“It took us awhile to get started, but once we did we played pretty well,” said Holly Pond Head Coach Mike Bates, “But (Brindlee Mountain) wanted to win just like we did. We (are two teams) trying to build and they came out on top.”
The Broncos started off solid on defense. Brindlee Mountain running back Brent Myers took a handoff on an end-around, but the Holly Pond defense stopped him in the backfield stripping the ball and causing a fumble. After a short scrum it was a green jersey that came out with the ball.
Holly Pond didn’t fare so well on its first drive on offense, going four and out. After driving them backwards for negative 29 yards, including two sacks on quarterback Michael Lambert, Brindlee Mountain took over on downs.
Going on a seven-play, 57-yard march downfield, Brindlee Mountain got on the board following a one-yard run from running back Mark Cox III. The Lions converted the two-point conversion on a Meyers push over the goal line.
The Broncos didn’t have much success the rest of the first quarter, but they were able to put a stop on the Lion defensive line and keep them out of the backfield.
“I don’t know if we got it under control, but we started double teaming (senior Steven Clark),” said Bates concerning the adjustments his offensive line made. “He’s the best defensive lineman that we have seen and he is going to be the best defensive lineman a lot of people see.”
After Myers went in from the nine to give the Lions a 15-0 lead, the Broncos offense was able to get on track.
Running back Dustin Pierce gave Holly Pond a spark running five times for 38 yards on a 10-play drive that ended with a Lambert pass to tight end John Phillips from five yards out.
“Dustin ran the ball extremely hard,” Bates said of the sophomore, who finished with 41yards. “It gave us a couple of sparks that helped us a little bit.
The two-point conversion was good on a Lambert pass to Zachary Naler, making the halftime score 15-8.
“As Michael goes, we go,” Bates said. “He’s got a good arm and a good head on his shoulders. He’s a ninth-grader so he’s going to make mistakes, but he’s learning every week.”
The two teams fought back and forth for the first 10 minutes to start the second half, as both defenses locked the other team down and caused multiple turnovers.
The Broncos’ defense was led on the night by Tony Vasquez. The junior tallied nine tackles on the night including two tackles for loss. He also recovered a fumble and had 11 yards on the ground with one touchdown, which led to the game being tied 15 to 15.
“Tony did some good things with the ball,” Bates said. “All of our running backs did.”
The next score for Brindlee Mountain came when Holly Pond fumbled the ball and Samuel Jackson returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. The Lions connected on the extra point.
“There are a lot of things we have to work on,” Bates said. “We have to go back and work on us and not worry about our opponent, but worry about us.”
Brindlee Mountain scored once more with less than a minute to go. Holly Pond players thought they had a touchdown as time expired, but the official called the pass incomplete.
“I thought we fought hard,” Bates said. “We just kept coming up with turnovers and giving it back to them. When we got going it went well, but we have a lot of work to do.”