PALCO — Right out of the gate, the Osborne High School football team hit two big plays. Seemingly before anyone could blink, the defending Eight-Man Division I state champions were ahead 16-0.
Then the rain rolled in midway through the first quarter of Friday’s Eight-Man Division I, District 4 showdown with Logan-Palco.
From that point, it was clear the game was going to be won in the dirty trenches.
After Logan-Palco made things interesting with a touchdown of its own and a safety late in the quarter, Osborne’s line won that battle in the trenches, eventually pulling away for a soggy 44-10 win.
“It took both teams out of what they wanted to do,” Osborne coach Cullen Riner said of when the soaking happened, a visibility-hindering rain that lasted until just before the start of the third quarter. “We took advantage of some defensive alignment stuff and were able to hit some big plays early.”
One of those plays was the first from scrimmage. Osborne junior quarterback Darnell Holloway found the edge on the right side early and no one got a finger on him as he coasted 61 yards to the house, just 20 seconds in.
Then after a Logan-Palco punt, the Trojans had Osborne stopped, but Holloway found senior running back Denton Schurr on third and long, and Schurr converted. The next play, Holloway found a wide open Kade Miller down the middle for 45 yards to give Osborne the big advantage early.
“Too many missed tackles on defense,” Logan-Palco coach Mike Jenner said. “We were there for most of the night, then all of a sudden we just missed one assignment and they were gone.
“They’re too good of a team to do that against.”
But Logan-Palco responded with its best drive of the night. Senior running back David Thompson carried the load and eventually scored from 14 yards. The two-point conversion made it 16-8, and the Trojans were in business. Then the rains came, and it seemed holding onto the football was going to be a difficult option. Holloway fumbled a snap twice, and the Trojans drove Osborne back. In the pouring rain, Logan-Palco recorded a safety, and the 16-10 score held until the end of the first quarter.
“(Logan-Palco) did a great job of staying together and fighting back, but we got our composure,” Riner said. “Our boys played hard, played physical.”
The Bulldogs had to get physical against the hard-nosed running of Thompson, which seemed to be the only weapon the Trojans had going the rest of the night. Still, the Trojans were in position to tie things up at the end of the first quarter, but failed on fourth-and-goal.
“Our line just did not step up to the challenge,” Jenner said. “David’s a great runner and Riley (Allen) is a great runner. But if our line can’t do what we’re supposed to, we can’t get a whole lot done.”
That was the story the rest of the way. Osborne had a big catch and run from Holloway to Miller, then it was sophomore Darrien Holloway and Schurr who took over the show. The speedy Holloway scored from 15 and ran in the two to give Osborne a 24-10 lead. And after another failed fourth down attempt by the Trojans, Schurr needed just one play from 41 yards to make it 32-10 before halftime.
“They can’t do that without (the line),” Riner said. “There were some big holes tonight.”
While the rain quit in the second half, the damage to the field was done. Each team put the ball on the ground numerous times, but Osborne’s defense stiffened and Logan-Palco got next to nothing the rest of the way. Darrien Holloway needed just one play on Osborne’s first drive, and the Bulldogs had a 38-10 lead. He ended the night with 162 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns. His final score — another long burst — set the final margin. The loss dropped Logan-Palco to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in district play as the Trojans face an uphill battle.
Osborne, with one loss, is still trying to find its identity, Riner said. The Holloways, while enjoying a big game Friday, sat out the week prior in a district win against Solomon. Riner didn’t say much about why, other than to say the team was spending time getting on the same page.
“They both played great tonight, and Denton Schurr played phenomenally,” Riner said. “We’re moving forward as a team, and we’re making sure everybody is on the same page, everyone going in the same direction.”
Darnell Holloway connected on 6 of 7 passes for 138 yards and two scores. He also finished with 12 carries for 54 yards. Schurr had 65 yards and seven touches and had two catches for 36 yards.
With the win in a loaded district, the Bulldogs are hoping that direction is the playoffs. The lone loss is a two-point setback to Pike Valley, a game where Osborne had a fourth-quarter lead.
“When you replace a senior class like we did, it’s a work in progress,” Riner said. “Hopefully we can build on this and continue to improve.”
Osborne is at home to face Victoria in Week 7. Logan-Palco is at Lincoln.