FOOTBALL: Fenton’s defense stymies Holly

| September 14, 2013 | Comments (0)


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HOLLY — Friday marked the first time all season that all of Fenton’s front seven on the offensive line were active for a game. But Friday also saw the Tigers’ defense steal the show.

Fenton pitched the shutout, holding host Holly to just 178 yards of total offense in blanking the arch-rival Bronchos, 20-0, in Flint Metro League play.

The win also kept the Holly-Fenton Traveling Trophy in Fenton for the second year in a row and third time in five seasons.

“The defense, they are always looking for a shutout and that’s tough to do in this era of football, as so many teams throw it, spread the field out with a lot of possessions,” said Fenton coach Jeff Setzke, whose team has now outscored the opposition 102-34 this season. “To give up seven points last week to a team (Adrian) that went out and beat Ann Arbor Skyline last night to getting a shutout tonight is great.”

JUST IN TIME: Holly quarterback Jake thorn gets off this pass just before being hit by Fenton's Ben Curtis during Friday's Flint Metro League game.Photo | Larry McKee,,

JUST IN TIME: Holly quarterback Jake thorn gets off this pass just before being hit by Fenton’s Ben Curtis during Friday’s Flint Metro League game.Photo | Larry McKee,,

Fenton, a high-octane offensive team that likes to pass, only attempted 17 passes between two quarterbacks against Holly. The Tigers registered its highest rushing totals of the season, chalking up 243 yards on the ground and 351 yards total offense.

“We challenged them,” offered Fenton coach Jeff Setzke. “We ran the football and that’s what we came to do. We ran hard tonight and I couldn’t be more pleased. As we start to run the ball better like this, we’ll become a more complete team.

“We watched (Holly) on film and they were dropping seven, eight guys back and we didn’t want to throw the ball (much) against them,” continued Setzke. “That’s great. Then we just ran it. They weren’t going to make an adjustment, then (we decided to) run it.”

While the Bronchos defense held the opposition to a season-low in points, offensively it was a night that Holly would rather forget.

The Bronchos’ offense was kept off the field for long stretches of the game, with Holly’s running game amassing only 15 carries for just two yards. Junior quarterback Jake Zorn was off the mark, going 12-for-31 for 176 yards, as his receivers had difficulties holding onto the football.

Even Holly’s biggest play from scrimmage, which came with 2:30 left in the second quarter, saw senior Tom O’Connor haul in a catch-and-run pass from Zorn for 66 yards, but O’Connor was hit at the end of the play and coughed up the football at the Fenton 26. That was the second and final time that Holly (1-2, 1-2) was able to drive inside the Tigers’ 30 yard line.

“I thought our defense played very well. I’ll say that,” said Holly coach Ryan Culloty, whose team gave up 26 to Swartz Creek in Week 1 and 21 points to Linden in Week 2. “That’s a pretty explosive offensive team if you look what they did the last two weeks (82 points), they have got a lot of (high) numbers on the board. Our kids fought pretty well, I thought they did that pretty hard tonight. The seniors I feel for. That was the last time they had to beat Fenton in the (Holly-Fenton) game. Fenton has a big offensive line. My hats go off to Fenton. They were the better team tonight.”

Being able to convert on one of their series’ deep into Fenton territory could have changed the momentum for the Bronchos, who have several first-year starters on their roster.

“In high school football if you can get a little momentum it can make a big difference,” noted Culloty. “I thought we caught a little momentum and we went for it on fourth down early. That gave our kids a little bit of confidence.”

Still it was Fenton that scored on three of its 12 possessions. Holly finished 0-for-12 on its drives, losing the football twice on fumbles.

Fenton scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 7:17 left in the first quarter. Senior James Claborn hit senior Scott Lukas for a 14-yard touchdown pass, although the extra point was wide left.

Two drives later, Fenton added to its lead on a 10-play series that lasted 76 yards and ended when junior Zach Kostra hauled in a 7-yard TD strike from Claborn.

Fenton (3-0, 2-0) chewed up nearly nine minutes of clock on the opening drive of the third quarter, going 82 yards on 16 plays over 8:36 and tacking on a third and final touchdown on Claborn’s 1-yard plunge with 3:24 left in the third quarter.

Holly only ran four plays in the entire third quarter, good for three total yards. The Bronchos’ defense was simply worn down by the fourth quarter, as Fenton’s beefy linemen controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.

“That’s what hard when you have a small line. (Fenton’s) line averages around 240 (pounds) across the board and they have two tackles around 280,” noted Culloty. “When you lean on that and don’t get off the field, it’s going to weigh on you later in the game. (With the big lines) they executed the run game and that was probably one of the main differences in the game tonight.”

Claborn finished 7-for-13 passing for 103 yards for Fenton, while junior Dominic Weiss led the Tigers’ ground assault with 93 yards on 18 carries and Claborn added 14 touches for 65 yards. Lukas contributed 54 yards on six carries.

Fenton had 56 total carries on the night for its 243 total rushing yards to go along with 108 total passing yards.

O’Connor had 100 receiving yards on five catches for Holly.

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