East County Sports

Vikes rally in fourth to down RedHawks

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

HOLTVILLE 22, MOUNTAIN EMPIRE 14

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

PINE VALLEY — Rival Holtville scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 34 seconds left to stun host Mountain Empire, 22-14, in a non-league football game on Friday night.

The RedHawks led 14-0 at halftime in this one with two touchdowns in the final 2:22 of the second quarter.

“It was a real battle,” Mountain Empire assistant coach Ricky Prince said. “We played our butts off with 17 boys and really fought. We ran the ball well and played very tough defense. I think just ran out of steam.”

Holtville rushes against Mountain Empire on Friday. / CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS

A defensive stalemate almost the entire first half,  Mountain Empire got down to the Viking 2 with three minutes left before halftime but turned the ball over.

Two plays later, Abraham Penuelas hustled and totally busted up a Holtville play, scoring a defensive touchdown with 2:22 to go in the first half.

“I noticed the offensive guards were pulling which indicates a run play,” Penuelas said. “I remember watching that play on film where the quarterback hands it off to one running back then gives it to another and I saw my chance to make a play. When I hit him he fumbled and I recovered it in the end zone.”

The RedHawks made a quick stand as Holtville couldn’t run out the clock.

The Vikings’ snap on fourth down went over their punter and the RedHawks recovered at the 6-yard line

Sophomore Corey Vann threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Rodrigo Gonzalez with just 21 seconds left in the half for the two-score lead.

The RedHawks’ defense did a good job again in the third quarter of preventing the Holtville running game from hitting full gear.

The Vikings, however, scored in the fourth on a 12-yard reception by Payton Iten with 9:49 left in the game. A two-point try failed.

Holtville scored its second touchdown on a 4th-and-9 from the Mountain Empire 34 as senior Dorian Maize registered a touchdown catch. The two-point conversion was a run into the end zone to even the game at 14-all.

The Vikings got the ball back with 6:25 left in the game and scored the decisive touchdown on a drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock.

Larry Clark rushed 15 times for 112 yards. He also led the RedHawks with 15 tackles.

Larry ran like a monster and really set the tone on defense,” Prince said.

Chaz Ennis has a sack for the RedHawks, while teammate Nakai Lindholm had eight solo stops.

David Lothspeich, a junior linebacker, had four tackles for loss for MEHS.

“We got pretty tired and we got in our own heads late in the game and a lot of us got banged up,” Lothspeich said. “I think we play the H-team again, so we are going to get better and come out with ‘W’ the next time we play them.”

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