By Elizabeth McKamy
The “Air Raid” was in full force here at Jack V. Murphy Stadium, as the Gladewater Bears and their fans celebrated Homecoming with a 66-21 victory over the Panthers of Spring Hill.
Coach Jonny Louvier got his first win as HC of the Bears beating his former team by unleashing an air attack in the 1st half that was unlike Gladewater teams of the past. Bear signal caller, QB Tristan Holmes, passed for 266 yards and 3 TDs and WR D. J. Allen threw for another TD to give Gladewater a 38-7 halftime lead. Allen also caught 5 passes for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading all Bear receivers in the 1st half. Soph. WR Kolin Lewis added 4 catches for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Gladewater got on the board first after a Tyrone Maddox interception gave the Bears great field position at the Spring Hill 8 yard line. Two plays later Allen took the end of round handoff from Holmes and threw a perfect strike to a wide open Lewis in the endzone for six. Justice Hassek’s kick split the uprights to give Gladewater a 7-0 lead. Hassek was perfect on the night hitting 9 of 9 extra points and booting a 35 yard field goal to end the first half.
It didn’t take the Bears long to add to their score after the Gladewater defense held the Panthers on their next series. RB Eligia Carter hit paydirt exploding for 50 yards on his only TD of the night. Carter, who only carried the ball twice, added another 50+ yard run that was nullified by a Bear penalty.
The Panthers got a drive going on their next series, going 40 yards in 7 plays, but on 4th and 5 from the Bear 21 yard line, LB Zach Polanco sacked Spring Hill QB Brennan Ferguson for a 10 yard loss. Four plays later Holmes hit Lewis for a 41 yard TD, giving the Bears a 21-0 1st quarter lead.
Gladewater’s defense rose up again on the Panther’s next series, holding Spring Hill to a 2 yard loss, but a Bear penalty on the punt gave the visitors an automatic first down and renewed hope of getting on the board. The Panthers drove down to the Gladewater 10 yard line, but the stingy Bears built their stone wall keeping Spring Hill off the scoreboard. Taking loving at their own 2 yard line, the hometown Bears weren’t fazed. Holmes threw his 2nd TD of the night to Allen who outran the Panther defense on his way to a 74 yard TD and a 28-0 lead.
Spring Hill got their only points of the first half on the next series, going 83 yards in 6 plays. Ferguson hit Jr. WR Grayson Crews for 9 yards and the score. Soph K Jose De La Cruz added the extra point.
The Panther score didn’t slow down the Bears, as on their next series Holmes hits Allen again. This time for a 63 yard touchdown, giving Gladewater a 35-7 lead with 3:42 left in the half. After holding Spring Hill to 4 yards on 3 plays, the Bears finished out the 1st half scoring with Hassek’s 35 yard field goal.
Gladewater took the 2nd half kickoff and went back to their signature “ground and pound” attack, eating up yardage and keeping the ball out the the Panther’s hands. The Bears lead by Soph QB/WR Kolin Lewis (2 carries, 17 yards, TD), Jr. RB Jakeven Hardeman (4 carries, 61 yards, 2 TDs), Soph RB G’Braylon Polly (9 carries, 54 yards, TD), and RB Malachi Gordon (2 carries, 15 yards, TD), grinded out 182 yards on the ground, giving the Bears 66 points, the highest point total ever scored by Gladewater on a Panther defense.
Spring Hill added 2 scores in the 4th quarter on a 1 yard Ferguson scamper and a Ferguson to WR Eric Morrow pass.
The Bears will travel to Center to take on the Roughriders next Friday, September 11, at 7:30pm.