DEKALB, Mo.—The South Holt/Nodaway-Holt Spartans left the field quickly Friday night after an 82-36 win over the DeKalb Tigers.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Quinlin has been in the Tigers’ position before, in fact, multiple times this year the Spartans have been on the other end of a blowout loss and he wanted to make sure his team showed class. Quinlin did more than his share in SHNH’s second-straight win.
The Spartans started the game with a 30-yard pass to Reagan Morris, but on the next play, senior running back Taran Clark fumbled. The Tigers took possession and drove right down the field with a 25-yard reception by Josh Bomberger. Running back Tyler Matson capped off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.
SHNH answered quickly on the next possession. Clark rebounded to rush for 25 yards on the drive and Quinlin went 2-for-2 for 46 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Ottman. This became a theme for the duo in the first half as they connected for three scores.
The Spartan defense held strong on the next drive, holding DeKalb to one yard on three carries. SHNH took little time to make it a 16-6 game after Quinlin and Ottman connected for their second touchdown on the first play of the drive. It was the exact kind of drive that SHNH head coach Josh Petersen likes to see from his team.
“We want to play fast, we want to throw,” Petersen said. “We’re going to go, we’re going to go, go, go.”
The Tigers came right back at the Spartans on the ensuing possession. DeKalb went four-wide, leaving running back Coyote Henderson on the line and unaccounted for. Henderson went uncovered and ended up gaining 58 yards on the pass.
The Tigers had to convert a fourth-and-one and then followed that up with a one-yard touchdown run from running back Zach Novotny.
“When you have that many young kids playing those positions, theor fundamentals aren’t going to be where we want them to be,” Petersen said.
Clark and Quinlin pushed the lead back up to eight on the very next drive when the two players connected for a 40-yard touchdown. But the Tigers would again answer on another Novotny touchdown reception, tying the game at 22.
It took all of three plays for Quinlin to once again find Ottman for the third time in the first half on a 30-yard touchdown. Ottman was just happy to see his team’s offense put up so many points.
“It was a fun game, got some touchdowns pretty early, but it was fun offensively to score 82 points,” Ottman said.
After the Spartan defense forced another three-and-out, Quinlin found his other wide receiver, Morris, for his first touchdown of the game—giving SHNH a 36-22 lead. But again, the Tigers had an answer for the Spartans and again, it was a touchdown reception for Novotny.
SHNH started to pull away after Novotny’s third touchdown. Ottman scored his third touchdown and then Quinlin intercepted Tigers quarterback Wyatt Ashpaugh with no time left on the clock, but a horse collar penalty gave the Spartans one last play before halftime. On that play, Quinlin found Morris for a 25-yard touchdown, giving SHNH a 52-28 lead at halftime. Petersen is happy with the talent he has offensively.
“He’s good (Quinlin), our receivers are good, and our offensive line gives him the time he needs to find our receivers,” Petersen said.
Quinlin and Ashpaugh, combined, threw one incomplete pass in the first half and 10 touchdowns. Quinlin finished the first half with 307 yards passing and seven touchdowns. The Spartan quarterback didn’t care much about his stats, but was more concerned with the outcome of the game.
“It was a team effort, it’s not about me,” Quinlin said. “We needed this one after a rough start.”
The Tigers started the second half with a three-and-out. DeKalb found itself in a third-and-long due to defensive end Dallas Nowling’s third sack of the game. Petersen has been happy with the play of his young lineman.
“He’s just chomping at the bit to play, like a lot of these young guys,” Petersen said. “They’re rolling with the momentum, they’re upbeat and positive even when we’re down.”
DeKalb scored its only touchdown of the second half on a 72-yard run by Henderson. The Tigers’ back finished with 123 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving. The rest of the offense combined totaled 194 yards.
Morris caught two more touchdowns in the second half, including the touchdown that ended the game. The final touchdown gave him four for the game, the same number that Ottman finished with. Ottman said that final touchdown was bittersweet.
“Me and him always joke about who’s going to score the most or who’s going to have the most yards, so when he scored that last one, I was kinda like ‘dang it,’” Ottman said. “But then you cheer for him.”
Quinlin finished the game with 410 yards passing on 26 attempts. The Spartan quarterback had nine touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown and 73 yards rushing. Clark finished with 117 rushing yards on 11 carries and 48 yards receiving with three receptions.
Morris finished with six receptions for 164 yards and four touchdowns. Ottman had seven receptions for 189 yards and four touchdowns.
The Spartans have averaged 57 points per game over their last three games after averaging just 26 in their first three. The defense has shown some improvement. After allowing 204 points in its first three games, it has given up just 48 in its last two. The inconsistency has Petersen not knowing what to expect next week against Stewartsville.
“Stewartsville has its ups and downs, it could be 82-36 or 50-0 and that could go either way,” Petersen said.