West Holmes

Fireworks hit the sky often, Knights make big plays to earn 48-24 win over Madison

After the West Holmes Knights score a touchdown on their home field, the fans in attendance are wowed by a celebratory firework that is blasted off from across State Route 39.

Whomever is shooting those fireworks off better reload because their supply is low after the Knights put on a show of big plays while knocking off Ohio Cardinal Conference foe Madison 48-24 on Sept. 23 in Millersburg.

On top of all the shiny things in the sky, the Knights won this game on the night of Homecoming at West Holmes High School and did so with some special efforts on both offense and defense.

In the backfield Garrett Ervin led the Knights with 140 yards rushing and found the end zone four times. Sophomore and punishing fullback Cale Ogi also surpassed the century mark on the ground with 117 yards rushing and he barreled in for one touchdown.

Also, senior quarterback Trenton Bridenthal looked like a world-beater at times as he rushed for 79 yards and two TDs on the ground. He also had a 67-yard kickoff return to start the second half that was highlight reel material.

West Holmes’ coach Ron Hay gets his first win at the helm off Knights’ program and said the big plays the Knights have been waiting for, finally came against Madison.

“Big plays tonight,” said Hay. “We’ve been waiting for some of those and tonight we got them.”

The Knights led after the first quarter 14-7, despite the Rams scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run. West Holmes answered the early score by the Rams when an Ogi 60-yard run set up a 9-yard TD run by Ervin to tie it at seven apiece. (video)

West Holmes then took the lead 14-7 when Bridenthal scampered home from 17 yards when he took a snap out of the shotgun and weaved his way into the end zone. Bridenthal’s score came one play after he made nifty interception to set himself up for a touchdown. Not sure West Holmes and the word ‘shotgun’ have ever been combined in the same sentence.

Madison added a field goal to cut the West Holmes lead to 14-10 early in the second quarter, but the Knights would answer again. This time a Bridenthal 51-yard run set up another Ervin TD. With 7:41 left in the second quarter, Ervin got his second trip to the end zone from seven yards to push the West Holmes lead to 21-10.

The Rams then put together a nice little drive of their own that was capped by a 15-yard touchdown catch by Kyle Jackson who hauled in a pass from Treston Vail with 1:26 left in the half. (video) The throw and catch cut the West Holmes lead to 21-17 after one half.

Hay said that he told his Knights at the break that with the lead they now need to pounce on the opportunity to snare an OCC win.

“We told our kids at halftime that we need to keep pounding it, put our foot on the pedal and don’t let up,” said Hay.

His Knights answered Hay’s call. And did so right from the start of the half.

On the opening kickoff of the second half Bridenthal danced, juked and deked his way to a slithery 67-yard return that set the Knights up deep in Rams’ territory right away. West Holmes wouldn’t score after the Bridenthal heroics, but they titled the field-position battle and eventually forced the Rams to punt from their own 2-yard line.

When the Rams’ punted from their own 2-yard line, a horrible snap forced the punter to kick the ball off the ground forward where West Holmes covered up the ball at the 3-yard line. The problem was the Madison punter kicked the ball forward off the ground while the ball was still in the end zone. That forced the flags to come out for illegal kicking and a safety for the Knights.

Well, not so fast my friend. Coach Hay calmly wanted an explanation of the penalty call and decided to decline it, thus giving the Knights first and goal from the 3-yard line rather than taking the safety and the two points. A genius move as one play later Ogi got his touchdown on a 3-yard smash into the end zone. (video)

“I had to have the officials explain it to me” said Hay. “We were on the sideline thinking we had a safety and then I went on the field and said ‘hold it, I want this explained to me’ before we make a decision. If we were going to get the ball first and goal on the three yard line, I want that versus the two points and the free kick.”

Ogi’s 1-yard romp put the Knights up 28-17 with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

Ervin then found the end zone for the third time on the night when he rolled in from five yards with 11:57 left in the fourth quarter. (video) Ervin’s hat-trick TD put the Knights up 34-17 as the extra point banged off the upright and was no good.

Madison, now desperate for points, went to the air on its first play on the next drive after Ervin’s third touchdown. Bad idea. Junior Brayden Chaney made a great break on the pass and cut in front of Jackson for an interception and returned it 62 yards to the Madison 6-yard line.

The Knights had a first and goal at the six after Chaney’s sweet interception, but penalties moved them back to the 18-yard line where they had a long third and goal. No problem. Just give it to Bridenthal and good things will happen. And it did. Bridenthal made a plain filthy run from 18-yards out including a mean stiff-arm at the 5-yard line that gave him enough room to dive at the pylon and score. (video) The great run, and another big play from West Holmes, put the Knights up 41-17.

“I thought we had a lot of big plays and people stepped up,” said Bridenthal. “That’s a good sign and we need to keep it rolling.”

Ervin then capped the scoring for the Knights, on another big play from scrimmage, when he took in a touchdown from 63 yards with 5:55 left in the game that put the Knights up 48-24, the final score.

West Holmes is now 1-4 and 1-1 in the OCC. Madison falls to 2-3 and 0-2 in the conference.

Four Downs
1. The West Holmes’ secondary had a tough task in covering Div. I commit Tyrell Aijan (Kentucky) and Jackson downfield. For the most part they did a great job as Chaney and Michael Taylor were up to the challenge. Chaney’s interception was a thing of beauty and Bridenthal chipped in with an INT of his own to earn the praise of coach Hay.

“Bradyen Chaney and Michael Taylor made some great plays tonight,” said Hay. “They also caught us on a couple plays deep, but we are going to expect that.”

2. The Madison punt, bad snap and play you’ll never seen again where the punter kicked it forward out of the end zone proved to be a big play for the Knights. Hay did a genius job of taking in the whole situation and making the right decision to decline the penalty and give his Knights a chance to put the game away.

3. Senior Jake Mullet played an inspired game on the defensive line for West Holmes as did Matt Chanay. Mullet despite having a nasty looking injury to his middle finger, got his big paw up to swat a pair of Madison passes.

“Trainer John had me put a glove on and we put three heat pads on it and just went after it,”said Mullet. “I was hoping it didn’t hurt, but when I made a couple swatted passes it hurt a bit.”

4. The biggest difference tonight for West Holmes was the offensive and defensive line. Both sides of the trenches went out and hit someone opening things up for the big plays on offense and throwing heat at the Madison quarterback on the defensive side of the ball.

“As a whole we played pretty well and our defensive line got some pressure on them when we needed it,” said Mullet. “In the first three quarters they didn’t run the ball very well against us and our linebackers also helped out and played great tonight.”

Man in Motion, OhioSportsTicket.com Player of the Game

Bridenthal. Bridenthal. Bridenthal. Although Mullet, Chaney and Josh Baldridge all turned in terrific defensive efforts, Bridenthal was the stud muffin who Madison had no answer for. A sick kickoff return, two touchdowns on the ground from the quarterback position and an athletic interception gives the senior our nod for Player of the Game.

Post-game Chatter

Bridenthal on the kickoff return to start the second half.

“It came to me way down in the corner and I swung it out all the way to the left,” said Bridenthal. “As soon as I hit a seem I cut it up and just went for it.”

Bridenthal on the play of the Knights’ offensive line in front of him.

“Our line sustained blocks a lot better tonight,” said Bridenthal. “They went and got people and had some good down-field blocks.”

Mullet on being a senior and getting a home win on Homecoming night.

“This feels good after a long drought with no wins,” he said.

West Holmes’ coach Ron Hay on the play of his defense and the secondary.

“I love the way our defense played,” said Hay. “I felt like we owned the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. We’ve been preaching it all season long. We have it, we just need to do it. And tonight we did it.”

Hay on his offense getting big plays and looking well-oiled on Friday night.
“We are getting better on offense at slowing down the pace of the game and burning up the clock. That helps the offense.”

Hay on his first win as the head coach of the Knights.

“This is all about the kids,” said Hay. “Our motivation is going to pick up and as far as the coaching staff goes, we are going to keep coaching. We’re just going to keep coaching. This is the kids’ win.”

Video of the Night

The West Holmes’ band raised the heat level during halftime.

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