Mark Cushing had a game to remember for the .
Cushing did everything but drive the team bus on Friday night against the Bulldogs. The Indians' junior blocked a punt, blocked a kick and scored the game-winning touchdown in double overtime. Cushing's work, and the work of his teammates, helped Holt pull off a come-from-behind 21-14 win in double overtime.
"Mark's tremendous," Holt head coach Ken Moore said. "He's a player all the time. He doesn't take a play off. He's the epitome of what football is about."
In a game that featured very little offense, but a whole lot of defense, the Indians were able to come out on top. The win gives Holt (3-4, 2-3) a perfect 1-0 record in Class 5, District 4 play.
"The character of our kids showed tonight," Moore said. "We finally pulled it all together and got a win."
The loss was the second back-breaking loss in as many weeks for the Bulldogs. Last Saturday in its District opener, South (4-3, 3-2) to Fort Zumwalt East.
"I think [we] played terrific," South head coach Scott Fulton said. "We had a couple of mental lapses, but our defense played fantastic. We got after their freshman quarterback. We knew that he was young and we got after him and rattled him a few time. But there offensive line is big and they handled us a few times, and they handled us when it mattered."
The Bulldogs held a slim 7-0 for much of the game.
With seven minutes remaining in the scoreless opening half, the Bulldogs' Cole Simon scooped up a fumble and started the Zumwalt South offense at the Holt 39-yard line.
A few plays later, the Bulldogs broke the 0-0 tie.
South quarterback Brett Simon took the snap and broke to his left for a quarterback keeper. As the Indian defense got closer, Simon tossed a perfect option pitch to Marcus Smith. The Bulldogs' senior fielded the option cleanly and moved upfield. After breaking some tackles, Smith hit the afterburners and scored a 38-yard touchdown.
After the point after, South was up 7-0.
The touchdown would be the only points in a half dominated by defense.
The first half was 24 minutes of missed chances for each team. Both the Bulldogs and Indians ha issues with turnovers, mental mistakes and missed field goals.
On the opening possession, South quarterback Brett Simon had a pass tipped into the waiting arms of Holt's Tre Vaughn. The pick put the Indians inside Bulldog territory, but the Holt offense couldn't muster any points. A fourth-and-13 couldn't be converted and South took over at its own 28.
The South offense struggled early with bad snaps and none was worse than the one on the Bulldogs' second possession. On a third down, the ball sailed over the heads of Simon and running back Chase Abbington. The Bulldogs were able to recover, but were forced to punt while pinned in deep.
Holt got the ball on the South 40-yard line following the punt. The Indians matriculated the ball down the field with ease—running left, right and center against the Bulldogs' defense. Holt pushed the ball down to the South 1-yard line for a first goal with just inches to go.
The Indians had four tries to punch the ball in from a distance of less than a foot, but failed each time. The Bulldogs defense attacked the ball like rabid dogs on raw meat. Holt would snap the ball and the Bulldogs would stop the play before the Indians could cross the goal line.
Early in the second quarter a Holt drive stalled out in Zumwalt South territory. Instead of risking a turnover, the Indians elected to try a 46-yard field goal from kicker Brad Fahs. The senior booted the ball right down central, but it fell just short, turning the ball back over to the Bulldogs.
Late in the second quarter, South's Dillon Bowman picked off a Devin Pettit pass to give the Bulldogs' a late scoring try. South kicker Brett Smith attempted a 42-yard field goal with little time remaining, but it sailed left.
South led 7-0 at the break.
The second half featured more dominating defense. Neither the Indians or Bulldogs would give an inch.
Holt got a break with 9:12 left in the game. Cushing blocked the Bulldogs' punt and gave Holt the ball on the South 39.
With 8:48 left in the game and trailing 7-0, the Indians took the ball to the South 7-yard line for a first and goal shot.
The Bulldogs' defense again turned stout. South shut down Holt and on a fourth-and-15, the Bulldogs looked to have sealed the deal. South broke up a pass, but the officials called pass interference. The penalty gave the Indians new life and a first down.
With the added opportunity, Holt's Tray Mitchell scampered in for a 12-yard score. A successful kick made it 7-7.
The remaining five minutes were scoreless and the game headed to over time.
In the first overtime, Holt scored first. Pettit ran a one-yard touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Abbington and the Bulldogs answered back. The big junior ran most of the 25 yards, including the final 1-yard for a score to tie things up 14-14.
Overtime No. 2 began with the Bulldogs taking the ball. The Holt defense refused to break, forcing the Bulldogs to attempt a long 39-yard field goal. Once again, Cushing broke free and blocked the kick.
"The defense really helped us," Moore said. "They really kept it together for us."
Holt took over with a chance to win the game. Knowing it needed just a few yards for a game-winning field goal, the Indians were content to run out the clock.
"We talked with our kicking coach, John Butler, and he said we had about five yards to get and Brad Fahs can make it," Moore said. "We were going to try and get five yards. We ran the first one and we ran the second one. On the third one, they said 'Coach, what do you want to do here?' I said, 'Guys, just keep running it. I think we might score here.'"
Cushing did just that. On third down, Cushing took the handoff and ran right. He hit the jets and exploded down the South sideline for a score. The extra point was just a formality and the Bulldogs won 21-14.
The Bulldogs are now 0-2 in District play.
South hits the road next Friday to take on Timberland. The game will start at 7 p.m.
Holt will stay in St. Peters for Week 8. The Indians will take on Zumwalt East at 7 p.m.