Saunders, Arnold wear down Holmes County

Arnold Football

Arnold's Jovanni Perea dodges a tackle from Holmes County's Caleb Brannon.

Published: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:27 AM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Cody Saunders’ ability to make plays with his feet and his arm spelled the difference between Arnold and Holmes County on Friday night.

Saunders ran for three touchdowns and passed for another, and he helped Arnold pull away in the second half of a 41-13 victory over the Blue Devils in a non-district high school football showdown at the Mike Gavlak Sports Complex.

Saunders piled up 240 passing yards and 180 rushing yards in the game, which represented the season opener for both programs.

Arnold, which competes in District 1-5A, enjoyed a numbers advantage over its Class 1A counterpart, Holmes County. The Marlins’ superior depth wore down Holmes County in the second half, and Saunders exploited that advantage as the game progressed.

The two teams were tied at 13-13 at halftime, but an interception by Trentin Lewis gave Arnold possession at the Blue Devil 35. Six plays later, Saunders plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run to put the Marlins on top 20-13 midway through the third quarter.

Following a Holmes County punt, Saunders capped the Marlins’ next possession with a 13-yard romp to the end zone for a 27-13 advantage. Arnold boosted its lead to 34-13 when Jamonte Johnson raced 7 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devils seized a 7-0 lead on their opening drive of the game. Chad Leavins rumbled 40 yards on six carries on the possession, including a 15-yard touchdown run to give Holmes County the early lead.

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