Several firsts in Lakes Area High School Football as the 2014 season began Friday night. For the first time since Hollister started varsity football in 2010, all three Lakes Area teams won on the same night. Also, Hollister won their Varsity season opener for the first time ever, and all three schools made first year Head Coaches winners in their debut.
The Branson Pirates welcomed the Dan Henderson era with a 42-24 win at Springfield Central. Despite dominating the first half of the game, it was midway through the second quarter before the Pirates scored a touchdown. Jorge Cedeno hit three fields goals plus the Pirate Defense forced a safety to build an 11-0 lead before the offesne finished the half with three touchdowns on a John Ward run, then Zac Funderburk TD passes to Gavin Turner and Ben O’Dell. Funderburk and Turner also hooked up in the third quarter and Cedeno hit another field goal. Central made a run with two long touchdown passes from Quintin Batson to Isaiah Holyfield but got no closer.
In Reeds Spring, the Wolves overcome a 7-6 halftime deficit and claim a 24-7 victory over Willow Springs. Noah Cherry connected on two touchdown passes to Blake Ball with Josh Kent adding two rushing touchdowns in the victory. The Wolves still trailed by one with 9 minutes left to play before they took over on both sides of the ball. The victory is their fouth in a row over Willow Springs and makes coach Lance Gosch a winner in his debut as head coach of the Wolves.
The Hollister Tigers opened up their season with new Head Coach Jacob Hamon and held off the host Houston Tigers 26-22. The Tigers scored first and after Houston tied it up later in the opening period, Hollister scored again and never trailed though Houston kept it close.
Next week for the Lakes Area squads, its road games for Hollister and Reeds Spring as they travel to Cabool and Salem respectively while Branson will have its home opener against Bolivar.