DERRY – It’s all about making plays.
That’s what Hollidaysburg Area football coach Homer DeLattre told his team prior to the Golden Tigers’ WPIAL Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference clash Friday at Derry Area.
Lucky for the Golden Tigers, junior running back Reid Miller and sophomore quarterback Ryan Adams answered the call.
Miller’s scintillating 86-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown was one of four combined scores from Adams and the Hollidaysburg junior running back as the Golden Tigers fell behind early, but responded with 50 unanswered points, including 30 in the second quarter during a 57-7 blowout victory against Derry Area.
“When we’re having trouble, when we make mistakes, our mistakes have been bad mistakes,” DeLattre said. “Tonight, the kids made adjustments on their own. We’re not out there on the field as coaches. They have to be able to do some of the stuff on their own and I see great improvements in the adjustments they’re making.”
The Golden Tigers, 2-3 overall, are 2-2 in the Greater Allegheny Conference and tied for fourth place with Hampton, Knoch and Indiana. Hollidaysburg travels to Hampton next Friday.
“We had some struggles early, but we played well and we played as a team,” DeLattre said. “The kids are close and they rallied around each other.”
Derry Area outgained Hollidaysburg Area in the first half and only had 22 fewer yards for the entire game, but the opportunistic Golden Tigers used big plays to break it open, turning an early 7-6 deficit into a 36-7 lead by halftime.
“Regardless of your opponent, it’s all about making plays and we made plays that blew it open,” DeLattre said.
Miller and Adams were at the center of it all, reaching the end zone a combined four times. Miller rushed for 98 yards on six carries and a score, while Adams finished 3 of 4 for 96 yards, with touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
“They did a great job, they’re both great football players,” DeLattre said. “Reid is a great football player on both sides of the ball, he was in opportune situations and was able to make plays and that’s what we ask of him.”
The biggest play put the game away late in the second quarter, giving Hollidaysburg Area a 29-7 lead.
Derry Area advanced to the Hollidaysburg Area 30-yard line before the drive stalled, bringing out kicker Andrew Downey for a 47-yard try. Reid picked up Downey’s blocked kick, and took it to the left side before reversing field, eluding a host of Derry Area defenders for the 86-yard score.
Miller made the first big play of the game as Hollidaysburg Area drew first blood midway through the opening quarter. The sophomore quarterback took a read option down the left sideline, putting the Golden Tigers ahead 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion.
Derry Area’s Kyle Holmes gave the winless Trojans their first lead of the season, curling down the left sideline for a 54-yard touchdown.
Adams helped the Golden Tigers answer after he capped a 10-play, 58-yard drive by floating a 29-yard touchdown pass over the head of a Derry Area defender to senior running back Gregory Dinges.
Another big play put the Golden Tigers ahead by two scores as Adams connected with Miller on a 56-yard deep go-route before capping the drive four plays later with a 1-yard touchdown run, making it 21-7.
Miller’s dazzling field goal block ended it from there, setting the stage for Hollidaysburg Area to pile on with interception returns from Luke Ainger and Peter Gildea in addition to a pair of touchdowns by Dinges and sophomore quarterback Mitchell Augustine.
“It’s all about execution,” DeLattre said. “It’s all about making plays and they made plays tonight.”
Score by Quarters
Hollidaysburg 6 30 14 7-57
Derry 7 0 0 0-7
H-Miller 71 run (run failed)
D-Holmes 54 run (Downey kick)
H-Dinges 29 pass from Adams (Miller pass from Adams
H-Adams 1 run (Miller kick)
H-Miller 86 blocked field goal return (Waltz run)
H-Aigner 43 interception return (Miller kick)
H-Dinges 4 run (Miller kick)
H-P. Gildea 57 interception return (Miller kick)
H-Augustine 55 run (Miller kick)
Rushing: Hollidaysburg-Miller 6-98; Augustine 2-55; Dinges 5-29; Adams 10-21; Weaver 3-5; Ruggery 2-3; Parnell 3-(-13). Derry-T. Balega 14-65; Holmes 11-64; Beeman 7-14; Ty. Balega 5-10.
Passing: Hollidaysburg-Adams 3-4-0-96; Parnell 1-5-0-25. Derry-Holmes 12-27-2-119.
Receiving: Hollidaysburg-Miller 1-56; Dinges 2-38; Ruggery 1-25. Derry-Hess 2-32; Hajas 3-25; Watters 2-25; Howe 4-24; Balega 1-13.
Interceptions: Hollidaysburg-P. Gildea; Ainger
TEAM STATISTICSH D
First downs 15 13
Rushes-yds 31-198 37-153
Passing yds 96 119
Passes-int 4-9-0 12-28-2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-yds 6-55 8-80
Punts-avg 4-29.2 7-32.0
Total offense 294 272