|Chester's Colin Houlihan makes his way into the end zone during the Volcanoes' game against Fall River. Houlihan scored all our Volcano touchdowns.|
In an impressive display of athleticism, Colin Houlihan led the Chester Volcanoes to a 29-16 victory over the Fall River Bulldogs on Nov. 16.
Houlihan, Chester’s running back, broke through the Bulldogs’ defense to score all four of Chester’s touchdowns.
“Our coach sat our team down in the locker room before the game and had us visualize what we were going to do on the field,” said Houlihan. “He pointed out that this could be the last time we put on a Chester uniform and asked us how we wanted to go out. So we came out and played.”
Houlihan averaged 60 rushing yards per game and eight yards per carry this season. During the game against Fall River, Houlihan rushed far more than his average. His final touchdown of the game was the senior’s 15th of the season.
“The reason I got the yards and touchdowns I got was because of my blocking,” said Houlihan, praising Chester’s line.
Chester coach Terry Hernandez was ecstatic with Houlihan’s performance.
“That’s what we expected from him,” said Hernandez. “He’s the best football player on the field. He’s taken it upon himself this last few weeks to step it up on both defense and on offense.”
Amidst rainy conditions, the Volcanoes managed to control the ball the majority of the game. Due to the rain, however, the ball slipped out of players’ hands for a total of five fumbles during play.
The game started slow with each team’s possessions only lasting four downs. With about four minutes left in the first quarter, Fall River punted to Chester.
Rocklin Loranger received, but fumbled the ball. Fall River recovered at Chester’s 9-yard line for optimal scoring position. The Bulldogs kicked a field goal for the first points of the game.
Chester had its first utilized opportunity at the end of the quarter. Fall River punted a measly 10 yards. Chester jumped on the ball to put it deep in the Bulldogs’ territory. Houlihan swept to the left for the Volcanoes’ first touchdown. Micah Bondon kicked the extra point.
With five minutes remaining in the half Houlihan scored his second touchdown of the game. After a drive to Fall River’s 20-yard line, quarterback Hunter Morris handed the ball over to Houlihan who rushed into the end zone.
Chester’s luck rolled on as Fall River fumbled the ball shortly after the kickoff. Chester recovered to once again put them at the Bulldogs’ 20. Houlihan rushed in for the touchdown and the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs retaliated by a series of successful runs. The team’s passing game was sloppy, however, and Thomas Kelly intercepted the ball to take Chester into the half with a 22-3 lead.
“We knew we were in pretty good shape, because we know what Fall River does,” said Hernandez. “We never take games for granted, though. We told our players to not let up. To work hard until we pull them out.”
Chester’s defense executed each play with amazing precision through the first half. Almost every Bulldog drive was limited to four downs. Morris made several brutal tackles to ensure Fall River would remember him.
“If we keep playing defense like we did this game then we’ll be in good shape for the championship,” said Hernandez.
The Bulldogs accomplished more in the second half. They stopped Chester’s first drive and then made their way into the end zone toward the beginning of the third quarter. Chester stopped Fall River’s two-point conversion, however.
After a series of possession changes, Chester’s David Estacio rushed 40 yards to put the Volcanoes close to the goal line. Houlihan then ran the ball in for the Volcanoes’ final touchdown of the game.
Fall River endeavored to come back in the fourth quarter, but was too far behind. The Bulldogs were able to make one more touchdown, however.
Fall River took Chester by surprise at the end of the fourth quarter with a flea flicker. The Bulldogs’ quarterback Jace Neugebauer handed the ball back to Tanner Gallion who passed to a wide-open Michael Westlund in the end zone.
Fall River shot for an onside kick, but the ball went out of bounds. Morris kept the ball for a series of plays until the Volcanoes were able to sit on it to run the clock out.
“We came out a little slow and sluggish, said Hernandez. “A bye week will do that to a team sometimes. Once we made a couple adjustments and got rolling, though, I was very happy with our performance.”