John Lipscomb's punts caused Houlka's offense to start on an average of their own 18-yard line, whereas TCPS started in Wildcat territory on 11 of their 14 drives.
The Eagle defense took the rest, holding the Wildcats to 139 yards of total offense in TCPS's 14-12 Division 1-1A win at Okolona's Charles Faulkner Field.
Ninety-nine of Houlka's 139 total yards came off one play. With Houlka pinned at their own 1-yard line in the third quarter, the Eagles gambled on defense in an attempt to force a safety.
However, their attempt failed as RJ Johnson raced 99 yards untouched for a touchdown that cut TCPS's lead to 7-6 after a failed extra-point attempt with 2:21 remaining in the quarter.
"I took a risk and made a call. I thought it was a chance to put the nail in the coffin so to speak," TCPS coach Aubrey Boren said. "Sometimes when you take the risk, you pay the price."
Past that the Eagles made only one mistake more on defense, allowing Ondre Tittle to return a kickoff to open the fourth quarter 91 yards to give the Wildcats a chance to tie the game.
Mauricus Harris's pass fell incomplete on the two-point try, and the Eagles held their ground on their way to their second division victory (3-2, 2-1).
"Last week I felt like we laid down when the going got tough," Houlka coach Rob Allen said. "When we got down tonight, we fought back and got in the game."
The Eagles used their advantageous field position in their scoring drives. Starting at the Wildcat 41 on their first drive of the game, Andrew Soper directed a nine-play drive that encompassed four minutes of clock.
Soper finished the drive himself on a 10-yard run to put the Eagles up 7-0, a lead that would last through the first half.
After Lipscomb recovered a fumble at the 21-yard line, it took the Eagles two plays to score what would be the game-winning touchdown. Chase Camp's 1-yard touchdown run as the clock expired in the third quarter made it 14-6 TCPS.
Houlka (0-5, 0-3) had the chance to tie it up late in the fourth quarter, but Lee McBunch's interception with 2:21 remaining sealed TCPS's victory.