Holmes has an arsenal on the offensive side of the football and put it on full display against Mason County on Friday night in Maysville.
The Bulldogs tallied 461 yards of offense in a 39-14 victory over the Royals. Four different players found the end zone, including Tayquan Calloway finding paydirt three times as the Bulldogs control their own destiny in the Class 4A, 7th District next week for a district title, improving to 3-0 in district play.
“Once we tried to take away something, they’d counter and make something else work. We ended up having a freshman starting at outside linebacker tonight, he gave us a lot of good reps. I was proud of that. We had some guys cramping, we’ve got to figure that out. To me, that’s being out of shape and we’ll get that right,” Royals coach Jonathan Thomas said.
The offensive struggles continued for Mason County as they had just 46 total yards of offense until two late scores on scoring plays got them to 178 total yards on the evening. The first of the two late scores came when Carson Brammer hit Seth Chambers for a 61-yard touchdown pass and then Brammer followed with a 71-yard strike to Jeremiah Jones, who did most of the work after the catch to show the Royals never say quit attitude.
But early on, it was all Bulldogs, utilizing the jet sweep with 5-foot-5 Cortez Blassingame, finding the outside and helping them march down the field.
“That’s one of the main cogs of our offense, trying to get guys to run and move laterally. We saw on film where Mason bumps a lot with the motion so we were trying to use that to our advantage and try to get them to overreact at times and then when they didn’t bump, we were able to get outside and use our team speed,” Bulldogs coach Benjamin Nevels said.
Holmes got on the board at the 2:20 mark in the first when James Walker called his own number from a yard out on a quarterback sneak.
The defense, which held Mason County to 32 first half yards on 23 plays, helped put Holmes in solid field position all evening. Calloway found the end zone for the first of three times in the second quarter on a five-yard run that was set up by a Blassingame 51-yard run on the drive, making it 14-0 Bulldogs at the 11:36 mark in the second.
Holmes would add another score before the half on a Dreyus Glover four-yard run, giving the Bulldogs a comfortable 21-0 halftime lead.
They’d open up the second half with a 10-play, 65-yard drive, capped off by a Calloway nine-yard run to make it 27-0 with 8:18 left in the third.
The Royals started to show some promise offensively on the ensuing drive as Brammer hit Jones for a 22-yard gain to get into Holmes territory, but the drive stalled out in the Bulldogs red zone.
Holmes quickly responded five plays later as Walker hit Damario Foster for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make it 33-0 with 4:22 to go in the third.
The Bulldogs would get the game to a running clock in the early stages of the fourth when Calloway dove for the end zone for his third score of the day from five yards out, making it 39-0 with 9:10 to play.
Mason County’s offense continued to show signs of life after being shut out the last seven quarters of play when they finally found the end zone on the first play from scrimmage on Brammer’s bomb to Chambers, making it 39-7 with 8:32 to play.
The Royals added the final score of the contest with 35 seconds left when Brammer hit Jones, getting the final to 39-14.
“A lot of things have to go right, guys have to be lined up right, run the route the exact way, get a block up front. That’s been our main problem is getting beat up front and why things haven’t been working for us. But we’ll keep rolling, keep fighting and keep playing hard,” Thomas said.
The loss drops Mason County to 2-6 and 0-4 in district play, eliminating them from the postseason. Thomas feels the program can still gain momentum in the final two contests against Grant County and Lewis County over the next two weeks.
“We’ll try to send out our seniors on a high note and look to build on some things over the next two weeks,” Thomas said. “We want to show we’re going to play hard no matter what the circumstances are. It’s going to bounce back our way sometime, but we’re going to keep playing and to me that’s a life lesson. Things aren’t going our way, what are we going to do about it? Our kids have been great, been resilient, keep fighting and keep coming and doing what they’re supposed to do. We’re putting together some really good practices and hoping to hit the ground running next year right away.”
They’ll play in Dry Ridge next week against the Braves followed by their final contest against the Lions at home.
On the evening, Brammer finished with 161 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception. The Royals were only able to gain 17 yards on the ground on the evening.
Holmes ran 76 plays in the contest, tiring out a Royals defense with their athletes all over the field.
“We put our defense in a bind several times. We’ve done a good job two weeks in a row taking some pride in doing some things. Two weeks ago, we gave up 100 points in two games, but we kind of ran out of gas at times,” Thomas said.
Walker missed the first four games due to injury and the Bulldogs haven’t lost since, improving to 4-4 on the year.
“The past couple of weeks we’ve just been gaining more and more confidence. We’re finally starting to hit our stride, we’ve got Walker back at quarterback which is a huge piece for us. That allows us to move some other guys around in different spots and just be athletes which is what we really have and I think that showed tonight,” Nevels said.
The senior finished with 108 yards passing with a throwing and rushing score. Blassingame ran it for 138 yards on just nine carries while Calloway had 99 yards on the ground.
The win sets up a Northern Kentucky showdown with Scott, who improved to 2-1 in the district with a 34-28 victory over Bourbon County.
“It’s going to be interesting. Either way, we’re just happy to be where we are and try to keep it rolling,” Nevels said.
If the Bulldogs win, they win the district outright. If the Eagles win and Harrison County defeats Bourbon County, it would set up a three-way tie for the top spot. If Scott wins and Bourbon beats Harrison, the Eagles would then claim the top spot.
BULLDOGS 39, ROYALS 14
(H) Walker 1-yard run (kick failed)
(H) T. Calloway 5-yard run (Walker pass to T. Calloway) 11:36
(H) Glover 4-yard run (Glover kick)
(H) T. Calloway 9-yard run (pass failed) 8:18
(H) Walker 30-yard pass to Howard (pass failed) 4:22
(H) T. Calloway 5-yard run (run failed) 9:10
(MC) Brammer 61-yard pass to Chambers (Gilligan kick) 8:32
(MC) Brammer 71-yard pass to J. Jones (Gilligan kick) :35
Records: Holmes (4-4,-0), Mason County (2-6, 0-4)