West Holmes

Knights finish tough year in a fierce way with 28-17 win over Colts

Never give up. Never stop working. Never take the easy route to success.
For the West Holmes Knights, their final game of the season at 1-8 against a feisty Clear Fork team was not going to be easy. But as head coach Ron Hay said all season, the Knights had always played hard and never given up regardless of the score.
On this Friday, Oct. 28 evening at West Holmes Stadium they would live by that never-say-die attitude one last time during the season. That would lead to a 28-17 victory that allowed the Knights to rejoice at the end of what had been a rough season record-wise.
“We as a coaching staff appreciate that these kids never gave up, and they never stopped battling,” Hay said, “especially since the game started so poorly for us the way it did.”
Clear Fork (3-7) actually jumped out to an early lead, which could have spelled doom for the Knights, who had just the one win to show for their efforts coming into the game. The Colts got the scoring going when they forced a turnover and scrambled to the end zone for the game’s opening score.
However, West Holmes never panicked, and just like it had all year, never stopped playing hard regardless of the score.
Led by Garrett Irving, the Knights pounded away, stuck their nose to the grindstone on defense and eventually took a 20-10 halftime lead to turn things around.
“I told the kids at the half that we could not afford to take our foot off the accelerator,” Hay said of the need to keep the pressure on the Colts.
Instead Clear Fork came out and rammed a score right down the throat of the Knights to trim the West Holmes lead to 20-17.
That was when West Holmes showed its character. After Clear Fork slowed and stopped the Knights, it would be up to the defense to step it up.
The Knights defenders did. Now leading just 20-17, Brayden Vess stepped in and made a big play, recording a safety to give the Knights two points and a 22-17 lead.
The tide turned on the play. Momentum swung, and West Holmes took over.
That safety seemed to inspire the defense, which slammed the door shut on the Colts the rest of the way, and the Knights were able to push across another score for some insurance.
During that stretch of defensive wizardry, Matt Chaney, Grady Hay, Connor Roach, Alex Walker and Jed Alexander were all over the field making plays, and Ethan Kinsey made an interception.
“After they scored right away to close the gap, we needed a big play, and we got one,” Hay said. “Then we finally put a long drive together, and the defense did the rest.”
Garrett Irvin finished his West Holmes career, rushing for a team high 188 yards while Trenton Bridenthal hauled in 78 yards receiving for the Knights, and Bridger Cline ran the offense as the sophomore tallied 132 yards through the air.
It was a fun and fitting way for a group of seniors to leave West Holmes Stadium for the final time.
“I am thrilled for these kids, and especially for this group of seniors who get to go out with a win,” Hay said. “Plus this win will hopefully give us momentum moving forward into next year.”
Hay called this game the team’s best effort of the season, especially on defense, and he said it speaks volumes about the type of players the team has lining up.
With the Knights battling in a rugged Ohio Cardinal Conference league that saw five of their opponents make the state playoffs, Hay said the overall effort and the attitude never wavered for the Knights.
“We played a lot of really good football teams this season, and we played most of them really tough for large portions of each game,” Hay said. “We just needed to learn how to play for a full 48 minutes. But other than Clear Fork (3-7) and Madison (2-8), everyone else we played was at least 7-3, 8-2 or 9-1, except for Mansfield Senior, and they were 6-4 but were an extremely good football team.
“That makes me proud of the way we handled ourselves throughout this season. I thought our kids gave a great effort, and more importantly they had great attitudes and never got down on each other.”
The season by the numbers:
On the Ground
Garett Ervin paced the Knights with 729 rushing yards on 127 carries. He added eight scores, a number which also led a deep backfield and churned out a 63-yard scoring run. Cale Ogi added 558 yards on 77 carries, Trenton Bridenthal tallied up 318 yards on 66 carries, Shane Jones racked up 313 yards on 57 carries and Grady Hay added 149 yards. Ogi also added six touchdowns.
Through the Air
Trenton Bridenthal completed 27 of 65 passes for 428 yards while young Bridger Cline came on late, connecting on 12 of 37 passes for 245 yards with a long of 60 yards. Bridenthal scored three touchdowns, and Cline added a pair.
The Good Hands Guys
Connor Roach was a quarterback favorite, the wideout making 12 catches while gobbling up 249 yards. Isaac Wines added six grabs for 105 yards with Bridenthal adding some electric numbers, scoring twice on three catches for 92 yards, which is more than 30 yards per catch.
Tackling Machines
Matt Chaney racked up 92 tackles to pace the Knights defensively while Grady Hay tracked down 84 opponents. Bridenthal made 81 tackles, and Ogi made 80 stops. Hay added a team-high three sacks while Bridenthal patrolled center field and hauled in an impressive six interceptions on the year. Jed Alexander proved to be a hard-hitting machine, creating a pair of fumbles.

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