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Dragons fall to Indians in season opener PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

Holyoke’s Max Bernard Field was the site for football under the lights Friday night, Aug. 31. The Holyoke Dragons played host to St. Francis, Kan. in the home and season opener.

With a new coaching staff and a fresh outlook on the season, the Dragon squad was looking to pick up a nice victory to kick off the season. After a tough battle, it was the Indians coming out on top, handing the Dragons a 15-28 loss.

“We beat ourselves,” coach John Zilla said. “We blew several opportunities.”

To add more pain to the situation, Holyoke starting quarterback Trevor Dalton was taken off the field on a stretcher by Holyoke EMS personnel in the third quarter of play.

Dalton was scheduled to visit a specialist Wednesday to have his knee looked at. He was on crutches Saturday following the game.

Quarterback Trevor Dalton conferences with new head coach John Zilla
Friday night. Dalton went down with a knee injury with close to three
minutes remaining in the third quarter. He was scheduled to see a
specialist Sept. 5, where he would learn more about his prognosis.  
—Enterprise photo

Zilla was proud with how the team played in the season opener. He said they could tackle when they wanted to and could also move the ball when they wanted to. He just said they need the kids to play an entire 48 minutes of football.

Holyoke kicked to their opponent to begin the game. After beginning from their own 31 yard line, St. Francis moved the ball down to Holyoke’s 25 yard line before the drive ended on a fumble on fourth down.

Holyoke moved the ball down the field into Indian territory all the way to the 4 yard line after a few nice runs by Brett Cumming and his little brother Bradley. Dalton also had a nice completion to Logan Zeiler to help move down the field. Following a false start penalty, the Dragons were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and turned the ball over on downs.

St. Francis was forced to punt on their next drive which gave the Dragons the ball at their own 40 yard line.

With time running down in the first quarter, Holyoke moved into St. Francis territory but the drive stalled and they were forced to punt to begin the second quarter.

On the first play from scrimmage, St. Francis fumbled the ball and Holyoke recovered on the Indians’ 10 yard line. Following a penalty, Dalton connected with Logan Tharp for a 20-yard touchdown pass to give Holyoke the lead. Saul Ramos added the point after kick.

The ensuing kickoff was returned for a touchdown by St. Francis. Their two-point conversion was good to give them the 8-7 lead.

The Dragons were unable to move the ball on their next drive and were forced to punt. The snap was bobbled and Dalton’s pass fell incomplete turning the ball over on downs.

Dragon Logan Zeiler stops St. Francis runner Dylan Wolaver in fourth-quarter action Friday night.  
—Enterprise photo

The Indians increased their lead on the next drive after a 15-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score at 14-7 in favor of St. Francis.

The two teams traded possessions four times throughout the remainder of the first half with neither team able to score.

Holyoke took the kickoff to begin the second half and marched right down the field to the St. Francis 1 yard line. From there, Brett Cumming scored a touchdown. Dalton hit Tito Fierro on a pass for the two-point conversion giving Holyoke the 15-14 lead.

The Dragons tried to fool St. Francis on the ensuing kickoff by trying an onside kick but the Indians weren’t fooled. They moved the ball to Holyoke’s 40 and then Michael Leibbrandt busted loose for a 40-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed.

With 2:47 left in the third quarter, Dalton was rolling back when he dropped the ball and went to the ground in pain. Holyoke EMS got him off the field before play resumed.

TJ Gertner entered the game as Dalton’s backup. The third quarter ended with a punt by Brett Cumming who looked solid all night punting the ball.

Gertner was thrown into the mix with little practice under center. “He did a great job for me,” Zilla said. Gertner has been working as a receiver leading up to the season opener.

St. Francis would go on to add eight more points off of a 45-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion.


Brett Cumming escapes his St. Francis defenders in one of his many
yardage gains for the Dragons in the season opener on the home field
Friday night.        —Enterprise photo

Stats recorded

Statistics for last Friday’s game were not available as of press time.

Zilla said they will face a rather big and strong Perkins County, Neb. football team this Friday, Sept. 7. He said they will try to use their speed to beat Perkins County.


Other North Central action reported

Other North Central Conference teams played last week. Cornerstone Christian fell to Estes Park 32-42, Highland fell to University 0-48, Resurrection Christian beat Peyton 39-7, Yuma fell to Limon 14-47, Wiggins beat Byers 32-12 and Wray lost to Brush 23-50.


Holyoke Enterprise September 6, 2012