When Holland Hall left the Southwest Preparatory Conference five years ago to join the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, the opportunity to compete for state championships was one of the top factors in making the jump.
That goal was reached last week as the second-ranked Dutch capped off an impressive unbeaten season by beating #1 Lincoln Christian, 35-7, to win the Class 3A football title.
“It was just a terrific night,” beamed head coach Tag Gross. “I thought the atmosphere was just incredible at UCO. It was just a great night for us, playing the number one team and beating them.”
Holland Hall was led by a superb performance from senior quarterback Wallace Clark, who racked up nearly 400 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.
“I thought Friday he had his best game,” said Gross, who just completed his 21st season as head coach. “He was really in command. He’s just a competitor. If you want to go up against Wallace, you better bring it because that’s just how he is on the practice field. He wants to win every single situation.”
“It feels amazing, obviously,” admitted Clark, who had three touchdowns passing and two rushing. “Pretty much every day since we won, I’ve thought of the game and gone back through the highlights and gone through all the big plays. It means a lot that we accomplished such a big task.”
Winning a state title wasn’t something the team thought about only after winning their first few games. It was a goal of theirs before the season kicked off.
“I think we were definitely shooting for the state championship from the very beginning,” stated Clark, who recorded nearly 2,500 yards passing and 34 touchdowns this season. “I think that was fundamental to our success. It was our main goal from the very get-go.”
“It was awesome,” said Clark on playing nearly every snap this season. “Just being able to maximize my time on the field with my friends and fellow players was really important. I knew this was my last football season ever, so being able to play defense, special teams and offense, I was able to make the most out of my time.”
Clark is hanging up his football cleats because he’s also a highly sought-after baseball player. The hard-hitting shortstop has signed to play baseball at the University of Oklahoma next season.
While Clark and the Dutch offense were scoring nearly 50 points per game, their defense was even more dominant. They allowed just 69 points all season and recorded five shutouts. Leading the way was senior and current Army commit Owen Ostroski, who recorded an incredible 40.5 tackles for loss and wreaked havoc in opponents’ backfield all season long.
“He’d be dominant anywhere,” claimed Gross on whether Ostroski could put up those kind of numbers at a bigger school. “I always said two guys at Jenks when I was there, Sean Mahan and Rocky Calmus, were as dominant as anybody that’s been in high school, and Owen is right up there with them.”
“Oh, he’s an absolute beast,” added Clark. “Every play on defense he’s doing his job. Our d-line and our entire defense was just outstanding all year and Owen is a big credit to that, getting pressure on the quarterback and making tackles for losses.”
As expected, the Holland Hall community is abuzz with excitement following its first football state championship.
“It’s extremely satisfying,” said Gross, who’s also a 1987 Holland Hall graduate. “It was great to see the whole community come together and be part of the first state championship at Holland Hall. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.”
“I think that was probably my favorite part,” added Clark. “Just hearing all the congratulations and good lucks from the alums, even the preschoolers and little guys around campus. Having the excitement and buzz around everything was really cool to experience. Being able to say you’re the first state championship team for Holland Hall and having the previous alumni congratulate you on a great season is a really cool thing to experience.”