HOLGATE — The rain and wind whipped across Tiger Field all night Friday, and the Holgate Tigers struggled to muster offense against the Wayne Trace Raiders, falling 36-14 in Green Meadows Conference action.
“We kind of had to be one-dimensional tonight, the weather wasn’t really letting us air it out, and I thought our line played one of its better games of the year,” Holgate coach Colton Wagner said. “Hopefully we can build on the positives from tonight and keep it going.”
Wayne Trace quarterback Trevor Speice opened scoring in the first when the sophomore scrambled up the middle, broke a tackle and shot to the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown run.
“Speice was making plays all over the field tonight,” Wagner said. “We had some pressure on him at times, but he’s a great athlete who was making something out of nothing.”
Evan Mohr made it a two-score game with a 23-yard touchdown on a halfback counter with 5:30 left before halftime to give the Raiders a 12-0 lead, and Holgate quarterback Gavyn Kupfersmith’s Hail Mary at the buzzer was picked up by Mox Price at the two-yard line as Wayne Trace went to the locker room with a 12-point lead.
Kupfersmith finished with one completion on seven attempts for eight yards and one interception.
After the break, Speice tossed a high-arcing pass back-shoulder to Nate Gerber from the six yard line to stretch the lead to 18-0 with 10:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Seven minutes later, Speice went deep to Mohr down the right sideline, and Mohr made a spectacular leaping grab over Cole Snyder, taking the ball 33 yards for the touchdown to give the Raiders a 24-0 edge.
Wayne Trace added another score on a one-yard run at the end of the quarter, setting up a running clock for the start of the fourth.
Holgate broke onto the scoreboard at the 6:31 mark of the fourth when Meyer found a seam to the left and broke off a 17-yard touchdown run. Kupfersmith found Meyer alone in the back corner for the two-point conversion to cut the Raiders’ lead to 30-8.
Wayne Trace answered less than two minutes later when Austin Smith made a great cut to his right to avoid the tackle en-route to a 29-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 36-8 after a failed two-point try.
Meyer had another answer in his back pocket as the senior exploded off the left side for a 52-yard touchdown on Holgate’s longest play from scrimmage of the game to bring the Tigers to within 36-14.
Meyer finished with 108 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Holgate recovered the ensuing onside kick, but failed to capitalize further as the Tigers fell 36-14.
“I think our effort was definitely taking a step in the right direction tonight,” Wagner said. “We saw better effort in the Tinora game, and tonight was pretty good, too. We’re still not where we want it, but this is definitely a good sign for the coming weeks.”
Holgate was out-gained 425-172 by Wayne Trace, as the Raiders picked up 337 yards on the ground.
Jeradt Nagel had a break-out game for the Tigers, rushing 11 times for 72 yards. Wagner said he loved what he saw from his junior back.
“Jeradt had a really nice night out there,” Wagner said. “He runs really hard and has put in a lot of work this season. It was nice to see if play out that way for him tonight.”
After the game, Holgate honored its seniors on the field. Wyatte Schwab, Tallon Meyer, Cole Snyder, Ben Like, Zak Luderman, Noah Pistory and Nathan Grahn were recognized on the field.
“Our seniors have worked really hard for this program over the past several years,” Wagner said. “I’m sorry to see them go, but they’ve had a positive impact on the younger guys that should help them grow down the road.”
Holgate (2-6, 0-5 GMC) travels to Ayersville to take on the Pilots Friday at 7 p.m.