Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Holbrook improves to 5-0 with win over Chinle

Holbrook improves to 5-0 with win over Chinle


On Friday night, the Holbrook Roadrunners faced off against the Wildcats in Chinle. Although the Chinle put up a lot of effort, the Roadrunners came away with a 49-14 win.

Before the start of the game, a moment of silence was held for the late Andy Ayze, a former Chinle counsel delegate and chapter president who was also invested in Chinle sports.

The Roadrunners (5-0) were in high spirits when they started the kick off. Chinle worked their way forward with trick plays in the first quarter, slowly taking yards. However, when Holbrook got the ball, quarterback Marcus Oberriter made 20-yard passes and their offense was able to find holes in the Wildcats defense. A pass from Oberriter to Chase Sahmie led to Holbrook’s first touchdown of the game.

Oberriter made eight more successful passes and he ran in two touchdowns. Daniel Montijo scored two touchdowns and Daniel John and Darnell Nez made one each.

Holbrook made only one fumble and one turnover.

At one point, Izzy Ramos amazed the crowd by making a one-handed catch, gaining cheers from Holbrook and respectful applause from Chinle.

By the second quarter, Chinle seemed to have rallied but had trouble finding a breakthrough while Holbrook was making less passes.

Chinle committed five turnovers, but their quarterback, Zach Toadlena, made five successful passes, including a near 40-yard pass to Shaydin Tsosie for Chinle’s first touchdown.

Even though Chinle was down and would be suffering from penalties, they never gave up as Holbrook continued to carry the momentum.

Chinle lost the ball to a fumble that was recovered by Simeon Shaw. Then in the very next play, Chinle’s Trevor Francis intercepted the ball giving the Wildcats possession of the ball.

Penalties hurt both sides. On two separate occasions, the Wildcats had two TD scores call back due to penalties.

Holbrook didn’t suffer as many penalties, but one of their assistant coaches was ejected for unsportsmanlike language.

In the second half of the game, Toadlena was injured during a run and was briefly out. He tried to make a comeback, after another hard hit he was out. Garret Yazzie stepped in and took brief control.

In the last two minutes of the game, Yazzie led the charge, finally breaking through the Roadrunners defense scoring the team’s second and final TD.

With the ball in their possession, the Roadrunners ran the clock out, ending the game in their favor at 49-14.

First-year Holbrook coach Shawn Holley said his team played a good game, giving a lot of credit to their offensive line and the successful blocks made by defense. At the start of the season the team was still adjusting to the new system the coach introduced, but now they’re starting to get it.

He also credited Oberriter with his passes and runs as well as running back Daniel Montijo for making rushes and touchdowns.

He thanked Chinle for a good game, saying their records doesn’t do them injustice, and that they’re bigger than they look on film.

“I just can’t get over how well we played tonight,” Holley said. “We played really well. We executed almost flawlessly, not really happy with some of the penalties, but we can clean that up. And just our execution on offense and on defense, man, it’s spectacular. It’s a fun team to watch.”

Oberriter was happy with his team’s performance.

“We did phenomenal,” the Holbrook QB said. “The line was perfect tonight. Our receivers were on point catching every ball. Our backs did really good today.

“I think our defense was perfect too,” he added, “So, I think we did really good today as a team.”

Chinle running back Tim Clark spoke on behalf of the team, having run many yards throughout the game.

“I think we did alright,” Clark said. “We have a lot of improvements to do, we made some big mistakes like missed tackles and if we take all that stuff down, we would have a good game.”

Clark said the team tried to clean things up during a talk with the coaches at halftime.

And although the team dropped to 0-5, Clark said the team is slowly getting better with each game.

Chinle head coach Pita Olomua was unavailable for comments, but assistant coach Alan Barwick said the team did their best that night. He said mistakes were made, some plays were forgotten even when the team was starting to gel together, but they stayed in it.

“We are very proud of our coaches proud of the effort our guys put in,” Barwick said. “Instead of wilting under pressure, you know, we kept playing hard. We could have quit, but we didn’t/

“You know, hats off to Holbrook for their efforts,” he added. “They made fewer mistakes than we did and that’s just the way the game.”

Barwick praised Garret Yazzie for stepping in to fill the role of quarterback after Toadlena was injured. He also commended the play of freshman De’Quan Nelson for taking part of the game.

Barwick said the team remains resilient despite the drawbacks from the global pandemic when the school was shuttered and its football program remaining idle one season.

As for the Roadrunners, Barwick said Holbrook is an impressive team while adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if Oberriter because the 2A Player of the Year.

Looking forward, the Chinle assistant coach said the Wildcats are certain to overcome some of the challenges they face.

He is grateful for coach Olomua joining the team and since he’s taken over the team has grown by leaps and bounds.

“I really wish that our fans could see what we see every day of practice and then the attitude surrounding our team would change,” Barwick said. “ We thank and are grateful for those who are here every game cheering our fans on and not getting on their backs, but instead they’re trying to build them up in support.

“And we promise we will deliver,” he said. “It might take a little bit longer. We ask for continued patience, but when we finally break through, it’s going to be very impressive.”

About The Author

David Smith

David Smith is Tódích’íi’nii and born for Dziłt’aadí. He is from Chinle and studied at Northern Arizona University. He studied journalism and English for five years while working part-time for NAU’s NAZ Today and the Lumberjack newspaper. After graduating in 2020, he joined the Navajo Times as a sportswriter for two years before leaving in September 2022. Smith returned in February 2023.


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