Houston was already trailing by two scores before the Hawks took their first offensive snap. But Houston prevailed.
The Hawks used 14 unanswered points in the second half to earn a 20-18 win over the Monroe Catholic Rams during the ASAA Division III semifinals Oct. 8 in Fairbanks.
Despite trailing 12-0 in the opening minutes and 18-6 at halftime, Houston head coach Glenn Nelson said the Hawks didn’t fold.
“I think some teams do when you’re down that far,” Nelson said. “We’ve been down before and we’ve bounced back.”
With the win, Houston moves into the Division III state championship game for the third time since 2016. The Hawks face rival Redington Saturday at noon at Service High School in the championship game. Houston is still the defending DIII state champs after blowing out Barrow in the 2019 title game. The 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hawks were the runner-up in 2016.
Houston quarterback Colton Bunn connected with Brandon Hina on a short touchdown to provide the go-ahead score with about five minutes in regulation.
“(Colton Bunn) jumped up and shot-putted it. Hina just happened to be standing there and it landed in his arms,” Nelson said.
Nelson said the Hawks made adjustments on defense and stopped the Rams for the remainder of the game.
A key stretch, Nelson said, came on Houston’s first offensive possession of the second half. The Hawks put together a drive of more than 80 yards that was capped by a Kalvin Kolb touchdown run.
“We chewed up about six minutes,” Nelson said. “We quit throwing it, just went to the ground.”
Hina also returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the first half.”
Monroe scored on the opening possession of the game, and then added its second score moments after recovering a Houston fumble on a kickoff.
Nelson credited his players for their ability to rebound in the second half.
“We felt that we made too many mistakes,” Nelson said of the first half. “We wanted to make it to state, and we had 24 minutes to figure it out.”
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.