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Holley beats Notre Dame 14-7

By Howard B. Owens

Things looked good for Notre Dame at the end of the first half this afternoon, but in the end Holley took control of the game and went on to win 14-7.

It was the first loss of the year for the Irish and continued Holley's dramatic turn around from an 0-8 in 2008.

It was a tale of two halves, according to Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso, who said his team failed to execute in the third and fourth quarters.

"We had a good mix of run and a good mix of of pass (in the first half)," said Mancuso. "I thought we played with passion. We played with emotion. I thought we came out early in the second half and we started off with a penalty right in the first series and that was just kind of the way that we played. We lost our focus and we lost our discipline and we didn’t play a good second half."

In that first half, Notre Dame did a good job of stuffing Holley's powerful running game. When Holley went up the middle, the Irish line was there to push back the pile. On sweeps, the pursuit was aggressive, lead by Gianni Zambito, to keep Holley's backs from turning the corner. A couple of sweeps turned into lost yardage for the Hawks.

After the game, Hawks Head Coach Chad DeRock bristled at the idea that the Irish were sticking it to his guys during the first half.

"We played our game -- bend, don’t break," DeRock said. "We gave up only seven points to one of the best offenses around here. We bend, we don’t break. They’re going to have big plays. You’ve got to accept that when you’ve got Bochicchio at QB and Pratt and Richter and Zambito out there. Those are big play guys. We just didn’t want to get beat with the big, big play. We got burned on one. Other than that, we did what we had to do."

That one big play was a 35-yard TD pass early in the second quarter to a wide open Zambito from Nick Bochicchio.

The successful drive was sparked by a Cam McDonald fumble recovery late in the first quarter. The turnover stopped a long drive by the Hawks that had them on a seeming precipice of a first score of the game.

Instead, Notre Dame was able to end the half with a 7-0 lead against a Holley team that scored at least 30 points in three of its four previous wins.

ND opened the half with the ball, an illegal motion penalty the Irish in the hole and a few downs later ND was punting it away. It wasn't long after before Mike Perincano was crossing the goal line on a 30-yard rush to pull the Hawks within a point of the Irish (Holley failed to score on a two-point conversion try, so the score stood at 7-6).

On its next possession, the Irish moved the ball down field and were within striking distance of another score when Bochicchio was picked off by Guy Hills. That's the last time the Irish really threatened to put points on the board.

Two possessions later, Chad Barhydt, who took over at QB for Hills, who was injured in the fourth quarter, carried the ball in on a two-yard TD run, and with the two-point conversion, Holley sealed its 14-7 victory.

"My hats off to Holley," Mancuso said. "They played terrific. They were up to the challenge and they’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of really great kids. They work hard and their coaching staff does a great job with them. I wish we cold have done them justice and played them a little bit better."

Coach DeRock said his team, even at 5-0 and assured of at least a share of the Genesee Region title, is still taking the season one week at a time.

"Everybody says this was the GR championship, but it’s not," DeRock said. "It’s another game on our schedule. We have another game next week and another game after that.

"Attica’s a great team," he added. "Brad Clark had 295 yards rushing last night. I scouted the game. He’s a great running back, so we’re not taking them lightly by any means."

Pernicano finished the game with 52 yards on six carries. Sean Baylor had 12 carries for 68 yards. Barhydt posted 42 rushing yards.

For the Irish, now 4-1, Mike Pratt rushed for 65 yards on 20 carries. Zambito contributed 90 total yards on four receptions.

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