FOOTBALL: Knights’ explosiveness overwhelms Hondo




The rout felt like it was underway from the opening kickoff Sept. 17 at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.

By halftime, Holy Cross (3-1) had six touchdowns in their non-district game against Hondo (0-4). The Knights were well on their way to a 55-7 victory.

“We’re an incredibly aggressive team,” Holy Cross coach Mike Harrison said. “By the time we scored that second touchdown, we were extremely confident. That gave us a push.”

Junior cornerback Darren Graham returned the opening kickoff 46 yards off a reverse. Unfortunately, Graham was the victim of a late hit at the end of his run and his season ended with a broken leg.

After absorbing a sack on the Knights’ first play, junior quaterback Vince Compian (10 of 15, 284 yards) threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Robert Adame.

“Myself, the backs and the receivers would not be successful without the five guys up front and Jay Nava,” Compian said. “The score wouldn’t have been like that without them, or the defense.”

Adame scored again before the first quarter ended, on a 22-yard run. Between those touchdowns, Holy Cross earned first downs on both plays in its second possession. Compian passed 18 yards to Ernest Perez Jr. to set up a 41-yard run from junior Josh Martinez (145 yards, 15 carries).

“Josh and Robert run extremely hard,” Harrison said. “That’s kind of surprising for their size. They’re explosive and our offensive line was really good at times.”

Martinez scored three more touchdowns, two in the second quarter as the Knights scored 21 more points. He turned a burst up the middle into a 96-yard touchdown with 7:03 until halftime. The junior appeared to be stopped for a very short gain, but his extra effort enabled him to escape possible tacklers and find running room down the right sideline.

Holy Cross had one more big play to unveil before the half ended. Adame (121 yards, 3 receptions) scored on a 62-yard pass play. With just two seconds until the half, Martinez scored his third touchdown on a two-yard run.

“As the game was going on, he was one of our better options,” Compian said. “If I gave him the ball, I knew he was going to make plays.”

The Knights’ halftime stats were staggering. They averaged 18.1 yards per carry and 30.2 yards per completion in the first half. Martinez had 153 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just five carries, while Holy Cross had rushing yards as a team. Compian had completed five of seven throws for 151 yards.

Perez (73 yards, 3 catches) caught a tipped pass for a 25-yard score with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter. Holy Cross led 48-0.

Compian transferred from Kennedy to Holy Cross this season. His grandfather convinced him that the move would be beneficial. Interestingly, Compian played basketball at Kennedy but not football.

“(Knights assistant coach Angel) Cedillo, me and him are really close,” Compian said. “And I’m close to my grandpa. He told me I’d get a better education at Holy Cross. My grandpa went to Holy Cross and he really wanted me to go.”

Martinez, who also had 56 yards on two receptions, ran six yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. Hondo scored the final touchdown on a 45-yard run from Jordan Gomez with 4:17 left.

“We played without three starters tonight,” Harrison said. “It was good to see some of our younger kids step up. I’m hopeful this group will continue to grow as a team. They can be special.”

Graham will be a big loss for the Knights. The junior, son of Holy Cross assistant coach Garyl Graham, was the team’s best defender in coverage. Graham finished fourth in the state meet in the hurdles last year and has been a successful power lifter.

“I’ve known that kid since he was a baby,” Harrison said. “I know what he’s done to get himself to be in the position where he’s at. It was just hard to deal with.”

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