HERSHEY, Pa. - For West Catholic's Brandon Hollomon, it was a matter of a second chance. He got it, but it wasn't easy.
For two years, the senior running back has remembered the disappointment he felt when Wilmingon nipped West Catholic, 35-34, in double overtime in the 2008 PIAA Class AA championship game. He was a backup to older brother Rob that day. It was a long bus ride home.
That was incentive enough for Hollomon and his teammates Saturday as they faced Lewisburg in the semifinals.
The senior rushed for 208 yards and a key touchdown as the Burrs made it back to this Saturday's championship game with a difficult, 21-7 win at HersheyPark Stadium.
His 65-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 51 seconds left to play sealed the Burrs' win after the Green Dragons pulled within 14-7 with just under five minutes remaining.
Although they were unable to mount much on offense against West Catholic's dominating defense, the Green Dragons used a fumble recovery and return by Merle Moscarello to score their lone touchdown of the day.
Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Hollomon got a great block from wide receiver Jaelen Strong-Rankin and went off on his 65-yard scoring run.
"It was a toss play and I was thinking, 'Just get the first down,' but I got the great block and I turned on the jets," said Hollomon. "First, we were just thinking: 'Hang on to the ball.' "
In the beginning, it looked as if the Burrs, of District 12, were going to run the District 4 champion Green Dragons out of the stadium. West Catholic took the opening kickoff and moved 76 yards in 11 plays for what would be the only touchdown of the first half, a run of 2 yards by Dave Williams. A 56-yard run by Hollomon was a key to the drive. The TD came with just over six minutes to play in the first quarter, but it might have come sooner except for a couple of penalties.
The Burrs were flagged for 45 yards in penalties in the first half.
"It should have been 28-0 by halftime," said a frustrated Hollomon. "We just made too many mistakes."
West finally got some breathing room when Jaleel Reed scored from 1 yard out early in the fourth quarter.
The Green Dragons (14-1) got a break on the fumble return and it was a ball game again.
"We just didn't get it done offensively today," said Green Dragons coach Todd Tilford. "West Catholic does such a great job on defense, especially on the outside. We were concerned about their speed and athleticism. They are a very good football team."
With the 208 yards rushing, Hollomon raised his career total to at 3,151, 10 fewer than brother Rob.
"As soon as I dress and shower I'm going to call my brother and tell about the game," Brandon Hollomon said with a broad smile.
He should surpass his brother in the state championship game when the Burrs (12-2) play the winner of Saturday's other semifinal between South Fayette of District 7 and Forest Hills of District 6.
Lewisburg 0 0 0 7 - 7
West Catholic 7 0 0 14 - 21
WC: Williams 2 run (Schieler kick).
WC: Reed 1 run (Schieler kick).
L: Moscarello 16 fumble return ( Gaines kick).
WC: Hollomon 65 run (Schieler kick).