By Dustin Henggeler

The South Holt/Nodaway-Holt Spartans opened their season with a 56-6 loss in one half at the hands of the Worth County Tigers August 18 at Graham.

The co-op basically hit the reset button on their program, returning only one starter from the season before. And the Tigers’ own roster of returning players showed the Spartans lacked in a few areas.

“I thought we could have held onto the ball a lot better,” SHNH Coach Josh Petersen said. “We knew coming into the season that things were going to be an uphill battle for us. And we saw Worth County’s jamboree and knew they were going to be fast and physical and our young guys just couldn’t handle that tonight.”

The Spartans opened the game with possession, giving up a pick-six to Worth County’s defense. SHNH fumbled its next two possessions and the Tigers converted those turnovers to points for Worth County to lead 24-0 in the first four minutes of the game.

The next Tiger possession made its way inside the Spartans 10-yard line, but SHNH held their ground and forced the turnover on downs deep in their own territory. The Tigers countered back with a safety the very next play with a backfield tackle on SHNH in the end zone. Two plays later and Worth County scored once more off a 46-yard run to lead 34-0 with just over four minutes left to play in the quarter.

Before those four minutes came to a close, Worth County scored twice more for a 50-0 lead into the second quarter. The Spartans had possession into the second quarter, but two plays later found themselves with their fifth turnover of the night with a midfield fumble. The Tigers scored a little while later for a 56-0 lead.

The next kickoff looked promising for SHNH, but a penalty brought the huge return back substantially. A string of promising plays followed for the Spartans, ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass play from freshman quarterback Andrew Quinlin to Reagan Morris down the middle of the field. The score put the Spartans on the board 56-6 behind the Tigers.

Both sides began subbing in second string at the start of the second quarter, leading to a slower pace in the game. The final portion of the second quarter included turnovers on downs and one huge interception by Eric Ottman as the Tigers attempted a touchdown pass play. Instead, Ottman landed a touchback, but the Spartans were unable to convert the turnover. Worth County regained control of the ball and ran the clock out to maintain their 56-6 win at halftime.

With SW Livingston coming up in week two, the young Spartans have much to do for their second matchup of the season.

“We need to work on tackling,” Petersen said. “Because we’re such a young team, there’s so much we need to continue working on, but I thought we really struggled containing their offense.”

The Spartans will host SW Livingston at Oregon on Friday, August 25. Kickoff for the game will be at 7 pm.

For more photos, see the printed Nodaway News Leader.

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