Hollister High School’s football team is going into the postseason off a loss.
The Tigers dropped a 34-13 decision to Mt. Vernon on Senior Night, leaving them with a 4-5 overall record.
But there are no negative thoughts, and no licking-of-the-wounds for coach Rich Adkins and his team as they prepare to play at Monett on Friday in the opening round of the Class 3 District 6 Tournament.
Even in the loss to the Mountaineers, Adkins saw plenty of reasons for optimism.
The Tigers were competitive in the loss, against an unbeaten Mt. Vernon team that entered the final week of the regular season ranked No. 3 in the state among Class 3 teams.
“I think we’re getting better,” Adkins said. “Offensively we played a pretty good game. We had some chances to put points on the board.
“We felt like the game was closer than the score indicated. We didn’t play that bad. We feel like we’re getting better and the kids are excited for this first week of districts.”
Junior wideout Konner Hatfield had a big night for the Tigers, and it could have been even bigger.
He scored both of Hollister’s touchdowns – one on a first-half run and the other on a second-half reception.
Hatfield had another TD catch ruled a non-catch by officials just before halftime, which would have made it a one-score game at the break, instead of a 21-7 Mt. Vernon lead.
He was ruled out of bounds on another catch in the end zone in the first half, and another scoring reception wiped out by a holding penalty.
As it was, Hatfield turned in a seven-catch, 149-yard game through the air, to go with two rushes for 19 yards.
“Konner had quite a night,” Adkins said.
The success Hollister enjoyed through the air – which has been a weak point at times throughout the season – was a big development.
Quarterback Layton Morgan completed 13-of-22 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown, with one interception.
Xavier Stovall gave the Tigers another threat in the passing game, catching five passes for 30 yards.
As the Tigers move on for the postseason, they will put the majority of their focus on Monett, the third-seeded team in the district.
“We’re not spending much time on this game, watching it and grading it and doing all the stuff we do,” Adkins said. “We’ve moved on and are starting on prepping for Monett. It’s a new season, we’re ready to get prepared for that.
“They are a really good team, and we’d like to see if we can do something special and pull an upset.”
The Cubs enter with a 7-2 record and a six-game losing streak. They lost by one point to Mt. Vernon in the season opener, then by a touchdown to Cassville – the ninth-ranked team in Class 3 – in Week 3.
Hollister will be seeking its first postseason victory in the 12 years it has been playing football at the varsity level.