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Tigers' rally falls short
(Published September 5, 2005)

By DAVE FACINOLI
Special to The Common Denominator

They lost the game but accomplished many of their goals nonetheless. The Wilson Tigers' second-half rally fell one catch short Sept. 1 in north Arlington when they lost to the host Yorktown Patriots, 28-20, in the season opener for both high school football teams.

Yorktown was in total control at halftime when the Patriots led 20-6, were moving the ball consistently and had limited Wilson to just 20 total yards and two first downs through two quarters.

At halftime, though, Wilson made a couple of adjustments on offense that boosted its attack, led to a quick momentum switch and got the Tigers back into the game. One of the changes was a switch at quarterback when junior Jeffrey Brooks entered the game. Another was a change to an "I" formation that meant speedy senior running back Davydnana Holmes was given the ball much more.

Behind the play of Brooks and Holmes, Wilson pulled within 28-20, then had a chance to tie the game with less than two minutes to play in the contest. However, that chance slipped through the Tigers' hands when senior flanker Gino Crump dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone on a 35-yard fourth down throw from Brooks. Yorktown then ran out the clock.

Wilson gained 198 second-half yards. Holmes wound up with 68 yards rushing, 63 in the second half, and Brooks rushed for 21 and completed 4 of 11 passes for 55 yards. On defense, Wilson held Yorktown to 77 total second-half yards after the Patriots had gained 234 in the first half.

"We came out of this very positive," Wilson Head Coach Horace Fleming said. "We got everything we wanted but the win, and against a good team."

Yorktown finished 7-3 in 2004 and is considered a playoff contender this fall.
Fleming said the Tigers were forced to make the offensive adjustments because Yorktown stymied their attack in the first half.

"They forced us to go back to an old offense that the kids were still familiar with," Fleming said. "We went to Brooks to see if he could raise our level, and he did very well."

Brooks led Wilson's 73-yard touchdown march on the opening possession of the second half. The drive was capped by Holmes' 12-yard touchdown run, then Brooks' two-point conversion pass to sophomore Daniel Powell. That cut the lead to 20-14.

"When they scored there, we knew things had changed, and we knew we had a game on our hands," Yorktown Head Coach Bruce Hanson said. "I'm glad that quarterback [Brooks] didn't play in the first half, and I'm glad No. 7 [Holmes] didn't touch the ball more in the half. If they had, we might have been in trouble."

On its ensuing possession, Yorktown answered Holmes' touchdown with one of its own, as well as a two-point conversion. That upped Yorktown's lead to 28-14. But Yorktown didn't score again. Wilson cut the lead to 28-20 when senior fullback Donald Ferrell (70 yards rushing) bulled into the end zone from six yards away with 4 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the third period.

Following that touchdown, Wilson's final two possessions ended on downs.
Wilson took a 6-0 lead in the game when Holmes returned a fumble 65 yards for the touchdown with 3:30 left in the first quarter.

"Wilson was better than I thought they would be," Hanson said.

Powell and senior tight end Harry Van Kann each caught three passes in the game for Wilson, which was hurt by 80 yards in penalties. One of those penalties was a fourth-quarter holding call that nullified a scoring run by Holmes.

On defense for Wilson, senior linebacker David Burnett intercepted a pass, Holmes recovered two fumbles and returned them for a total of 97 yards, and senior linebacker Austin Murray had a tackle for a loss. Holmes also had 48 yards in kickoff returns. Crump had a 42-yard kickoff return.

Wilson's first three games are on the road this season. The Tigers play at Carroll Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m. and visit Einstein on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator