Opp loses late

Published 2:40 am Saturday, September 5, 2009

Holtville’s Bulldogs dealt Opp a crushing 20-14 home defeat late Friday evening in a game that was delayed two hours and 25 minutes due to lightning and inclement weather.

Officials first delayed the game at 8:43 p.m., when lightning was spotted in the area. At the time, the teams were tied 14-14 and there was 5:50 left in the third quarter.

According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, officials must wait 30 minutes after a lightning bolt is spotted before allowing teams to resume play.

The game appeared as if it would start again at 9:07 p.m., as the teams were making their way out of the locker rooms. But another bolt flashed across the sky and caused another delay; the game did not resume until 11:08 p.m.

Opp (0-2, 0-1 in Class 4A, Region 2) had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter after the game continued, but Hunter Jones’ 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Holtville (2-0, 1-0) scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive, when Daniel Arant threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Lamilton Bennett with 6:00 left in the game. The Bulldogs missed the extra point.

Opp had two more offensive drives in the game, but both ended short of the end zone. Facing a fourth-and-7 with 2:55 left in the game, Opp’s Gavin Free tried to air out a long pass to Josh Thompson, but Bennett was there to knock the ball away.

The Bobcats’ last offensive drive started with bad field position, as Holtville’s Jordan Boston’s punt rolled dead at the Opp 2-yard line with 1:40 left. Opp stalled and the drive ended when Free threw an incompletion on a fourth-and-10 play with 1:08 left, allowing Holtville to run out the clock.

Prior to the rain delay, Holtville moved out to a 14-0 lead.

Arant found Christian Garner for a 5-yard touchdown with 2:04 left in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs scored again with 6:53 left in the second quarter when Arant threw a 3-yard touchdown to Justin Taunton.

Opp scored to cut Holtville’s lead to seven points before halftime. Josh Scarborough took it in from 7 yards out and Jones added the extra point with 40.1 seconds left in the first half.

That scoring drive was set up when Opp’s Tyler Harrison and Holtville’s Taunton each appeared to catch an Arant pass at the same time, but Harrison pulled it away to get the interception and start Opp’s offense at the Holtville 49-yard-line.

The Bobcats tied the game on their first drive of the second half. Opp opened the drive with five straight running plays, and then struck quickly when Free hit Thompson with a short pass and he broke away for a 55-yard touchdown reception. Jones added the extra point to tie the game, 14-14, with 8:47 left in the third quarter.

Free finished the game 5-of-13 passing for 124 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Opp’s Richard Davis finished with 43 rushing yards on 19 carries, and Scarborough had 50 yards on 10 carries.

Holtville’s Arant was 7-of-17 for 92 yards and three touchdowns.

Opp travels to Montgomery to play Alabama Christian next Friday, at 7 p.m.