The Wildcats from Fayette County added another bitter chapter to Donoho’s first-round playoff frustration Friday, beating the Falcons 20-14 in the Class 1A playoffs, scoring the winning touchdown with 3:52 to play.
“The defense did a heck of a job -- we just didn’t do what we needed to do on offense,” Donoho coach Shannon Felder said. “We just didn’t execute like we’d been executing. We just didn’t bring our A game.
“It was a chess game. Sometimes we won and sometimes they won, but at the end of the day, they made more right moves than we did.”
The best move was making sure Terrance (Tank) Hollingsworth was on the bus.
Hollingsworth, an Arkansas State commitment, set the AHSAA career all-purpose yardage record (all classes). He threw two touchdown passes, proved an effective decoy on the winning touchdown and intercepted a pass in the end zone with 38.5 seconds left to stop Donoho’s final threat.
The Falcons (7-3) countered with their two Carrs — Chris and Kevin. Chris rushed for 102 yards, threw for 127 yards more on 12-of-26 passing and accounted for both Donoho touchdowns on a 2-yard run and 12-yard pass to his brother. Kevin caught five passes and completed a fourth-down pass to move the chains in the fourth quarter.
Hollingsworth needed 147 yards for the all-purpose record. He collected 248 and now has 13,134 for his career.
“The records are nice, but the records don’t really matter. I just want to see how far our senior season can go,” he said. “I just like winning and trying whatever I can do to help my teammates out. I thank God for letting me get those records, but … I just want to win.”
The Falcons did all the right things for three and a half quarters, but couldn’t get it done down the stretch.
They held Hollingsworth to seven yards rushing in the first half, made three fourth-down stops and turned away a potential game-tying 2-point conversion.
Donoho’s Axis Heathcock was credited with nine tackles, while Reaves Nelson, Parker Morgan, Sam Garner and Kevin Carr had six apiece.
“You can’t really ask for the defense to do any more than what they had done,” Felder said. “We put the defense in a bind pretty much all night and they came through for us. From an offensive standpoint, we just didn’t get it done.”
The beginning of Donoho’s end came when freshman punter Mitchell Baker dropped a snap at his 20. Kevin Carr tried to salvage it, but could muster only three yards.
Hollingsworth got his offense inside the 10, then Weston Bonner dumped a 6-yard pass over the middle to tight end Charleston Hudson for the touchdown that gave Berry its first lead. Jeremiah Chaney bulled into the end zone for the two-point conversion that made it 20-14.
“Tank’s a great talent, but we can’t just give it to him every play,” Berry coach Danny Raines said. “The other guys stepped up.”
But Donoho wasn’t done. The Falcons connected on two fourth-and-longs to keep the chains moving in their final drive — one from Chris Carr to Justin Foster for 31 yards — but Hollingsworth was waiting to stop the third.
“We fought to the very end,” Felder said. “We felt like we could move the ball on them, but they did a lot of things that were unorthodox and made it difficult for our guys.
“We made some nice plays but at the end of the day those guys did what they needed to do to win the game.”
The Falcons, the No. 2 team from Region 7, were in the playoffs for the fourth straight year and seventh time under Felder. They have reached the second round only four times in 18 trips to the playoffs.
Al Muskewitz is a sports writer for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.