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Hornets lose tough one to Holy Spirit

The John Essex Hornets were outmanned in Friday night’s game against Holy Spirit but they weren’t outplayed; just out-pointed.

The Hornets stood toe-to-toe with a team roster more than twice as deep but the Titans finally strolled off the Hornets’ campus with a 34-26 win.

“We’re getting better. We get better every week and we’re going to get better every week,” first year Hornet coach Lenoise Richey said. “That was a tough game…a tough game to lose but we’ll recover and we’ll get better.”

After exchanging punts following the opening kickoff, the Titans opened scoring with a 20-yard score halfway through the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.

The Hornets quickly responded. Letrelle Griffin took the kickoff 70 yards to the house to knot the game at 7-all.

Holy Spirit bounced back, thundering down the field in less than two minutes to take a 13-7 lead. Lavon Terry blasted through the line on the extra point attempt to block the kick and kept the Hornets within six.

Just more than one-minute later Griffin would find A.J. Bennett streaking down the left sideline and launched a 60-yard touchdown bomb, giving the Hornets the 14-13 lead.

The Titans drove down the field as time ticked away in the first half, eventually tapping in a 1-yard score and took a 20-14 lead into the locker room.

The Hornet defense held the Titans to only 15 yards passing in the first 24 minutes. However, Holy Spirit’s run game – spearheaded by junior Ryan Harris – rolled for 138 yards.

The Hornets came into the third quarter, chewed more than seven minutes off the clock and tied the game at 20 with a 13-yard run by Jamie Daniels.

The Titans responded with a score of their own two minutes later and pulled back in the lead by seven.

Bennett recovered a fumbled punt to open the fourth on the Titan 29 and Daniels would punch the ball into the endzone from five yards out just a few plays later. Down 26-27, Richey elected to go for two but despite a Titan penalty on an incomplete pass, the second attempt failed, leaving John Essex down by one.

Holy Spirit sealed the game with another score late in the fourth, capping the 34-26 win.

Griffin led the Hornets in passing with 108 yards. Daniels led the rushing attack with 45 yards on eight carries.

John Essex hosts Billingsley next Friday night.