Dunbar hung tough with Wauchula Hardee for the better part of Friday night’s 5A quarterfinal, but the Tigers had no answer for running back Keyonte Holley. Holley finished the night with 251 yards rushing and three touchdowns as Hardee pulled away for a 37-20 victory to advance in front of 1,500 fans at Wildcat Field.
“We had no answer for number 11 (Holley), said Dunbar coach Phil Vogt. “He’s a big boy, he runs with power and plays behind his pads.”
Dunbar managed just 126 yards of offense, but big plays kept the Tigers alive. Dunbar never led in the contest and early miscues were a big reason why.
Hardee drew first blood on a safety as the snap from the punt formation sailed over the head of Daniel Cobb and out the back of the end zone.
Dunbar also had a pair of big kickoff returns deep into Hardee territory that were squandered due to fumbles. Missed opportunities in the first half left Dunbar on the short end of a 16-6 halftime score.
“We made too many mistakes,” added Vogt. “You can’t make penalties and mistakes where we had them.”
The Tigers finally made good on a kick return as Marquis Bryant took a short second half kickoff 53 yards for a score. The two-point conversion to follow cut the deficit to two, but Dunbar would get no closer.
After Hardee extended the lead to 23-14, Bryant added a second touchdown, this time on an 18-yard run to cut the deficit back to three.
In the final quarter however, the Dunbar defense could not get Holley and the Wildcats’ power rushing attack off the field. Holley scored two of his three touchdowns on the night in the final quarter including a 23-yard touchdown run to put the exclamation point on the victory.
WH: Safety. Snap out of end zone
WH: Keyonte Holley 1 run (Rodrigo Rodriguez kick)
D: Reyshene Brunson 22 pass from Daniel Cobb (kick failed)
WH: Nelson Bethea 28 pass from Kris Johnson (Rodriguez kick)
D: Marquis Bryant 53 kickoff return (Kevonte Moses pass from Cobb)
WH: Bethea 4 pass from Johnson (Rodriguez kick)
D: Bryant 18 run (kick failed)
WH: Holley 11 run (Rodriguez kick)
WH: Holley 23 run (Rodriguez kick)