Since the program began in 2007, Hollister football has never won more than five games in a season. That changed on Friday night after a 48-0 win for the Tigers’ first-ever win over Springfield Catholic (1-7).
The victory pushed Hollister to 6-3 on the season, claiming the first winning season in program history.
“It feels good,” said Hollister first-year head coach Mike Johnson. “I am really proud of the children. They worked very hard and accepted. They did something really special tonight.
WEEK 9 SECONDARY FOOTBALL COVERAGE
Hollister used stingy defense and a huge day from junior backer and linebacker Blake Russell, who finished with 16 carries for 257 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He also had an 80-yard pick-six at the end of the first half.
“I couldn’t do it without my lineman,” said Russell. “When I see a hole, I hit it. No time to think, you just have to go.
Russell’s performance was special but not at all surprising to the Tigers coaching staff.
“I feel the same for him that I feel every Friday night,” Johnson said. “He’s waiting 200 yards to get there and it doesn’t matter how he gets it either. It can be on the ground or in the air, I think he’s the best player in our conference.
The icing on the cake for Hollister on Friday night was a 50-yard pick-six by junior lineman Daylan Schwyhart. He grabbed a screen pass and ran freely towards the end zone, sending the Hollister sideline into a frenzy.
“I really don’t know what to think,” Schwyhart said after the game. “It’s so much to take in. I don’t have the most playing time this season, but the last few weeks have really paid off for me. It has been incredible.
The Tigers will continue their playoff streak after back-to-back shutout wins to end the regular season.
“I think the defense is really coming back,” Johnson said. “They’re starting to really click all the cylinders and our physique is really showing on that side of the ball.”
The culture changed for the Tigers in Johnson’s first year at the helm.
Hollister has never played a home district game and that will change next week.
The Tigers have never won a playoff game and that could change next week as well.
“We are thrilled with this opportunity,” Johnson said. “Hosting a district game at Hollister is going to be a first, it’s really special. We know everyone in our district is busy, but we are ready for the challenge ahead. “