Houston coach Eric Sloan leads the celebration on the Tigers' sideline following a fourth-quarter safety.

HOLLISTER – Losing skid over.

The Houston High School football team snapped a 16-game losing streak that dated back to September 2013 with a 16-7 road victory Friday night at Hollister.

The win – in the debut of first-year coach Eric Sloan – is the program’s first in a season opener since 2008. That team won its first three games and finished 6-5.

The HHS defense bailed the team out of several self-inflicted jams. The Tigers held Hollister to 52 total yards, including just seven on the ground on 34 attempts. Houston had 13 tackles for losses.

Hollister’s lone points were a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown near the end of the third quarter.

HHS wins opener

Houston senior Ethan Kelley leaps in the air to knock down a pass in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game at Hollister.

The Tigers, who led 7-0 at the half following Nathan Poynter’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Whitley Welch, doubled their lead on Chance Hunter’s 10-yard run to cap the opening drive of the third quarter.

After the fumble return made it 14-7, the Tigers were driving toward another score early in the fourth when Hunter fumbled on the 2-yard line. But he redeemed himself on the very next play as he raced into the backfield and made a tackle in the end zone for a safety.

Hunter gained 102 of his 122 rushing yards in the second half. He had a team-high 25 carries. Ethan Kelley added six carries for 45 yards.

Poynter was 6-for-18 passing for 71 yards with a touchdown and interception. Whitley Welch had two catches for 25 yards to lead Houston.

HHS (1-0) will make its home debut Friday against St. James.

HHS wins opener

Houston junior Connor Clifton scoops up a first-half fumble in Friday’s season opener at Hollister.

Houston 16, Hollister 7

Ash Grove 13, Cabool 6

Mountain Grove. 51, Logan Rogersville 0

Liberty 49, Caruthersville

Ava 45, Marshfield 27

Wiids Spring 28, Willow Springs 0

Thayer 26, Hayti 6

Salem vs. Kirksville – Saturday

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