Hayden defense steps up to preserve 20-13 win over Emporia

The first two games of the season couldn’t have been more different for Hayden’s football team.

 

The opener was all about offense with the Wildcats dropping a 61-46 shootout to Topeka High. On Friday, the Wildcats came up with some big defensive stops to pull out a 20-13 Centennial League victory over Emporia.

“Our kids showed a lot of grit tonight,” Hayden coach Bill Arnold said. “It wasn’t a pretty game in any phase — special teams, offense, defense — but the bottom line is the kids fought their hearts out tonight. They just kept fighting.”

The Wildcats (1-1) recovered two Emporia fumbles and made two fourth-down stops in the second half to win their home opener.

Emporia (1-1) unleashed a punishing running game in the second half led by Gabe Galindo, who had two carries for one yard in the first half but ran 21 times the second half to finish with 166 yards.

“They have some big boys up front and our linebackers were going as hard as they can,” Arnold said. “We made some mistakes but we also made some stops.”

The biggest stop came on Emporia’s final possession. The Spartans drove from their 16 to the Hayden 17 and faced third-and-6 after a 7-yard run by Galindo. Quarterback Jace Stewart was stopped for no gain on third down by Brent Peavler, then Stewart threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.

Hayden took over with 3:35 remaining and ran out the clock, even with a 53-yard touchdown run by Peavler called back by a penalty.

The teams traded turnovers in the first quarter when Hayden quarterback Sampson Huston was intercepted by Kesston Gentz, but the Spartans gave it right back when Stewart was sacked and fumbled.

The Wildcats turned that takeaway into a nine-play, 76-yard drive resulting in Brandon VanBecelaere’s 3-yard touchdown run. Hayden went up 13-0 early in the second quarter when Huston hit DeShawn Hanika with a 28-yard TD pass.

Emporia cashed in on an opportunity late in the second quarter with a defensive stop deep in Hayden territory, taking over at the 33-yard line when Huston’s punt traveled only 14 yards. Stewart picked up 31 yards on first down before Sawyer Slayden reached the end zone to make it 13-7 at halftime.

Emporia got a 3-yard TD run by Stewart at 6:01 of the third quarter, but the game remained tied at 13 when Hayden blocked the extra-point kick.

The Wildcats scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 5-yard run by Matthew Moore with 52 seconds left in the third quarter. The score was set up when Hanika out-jumped a defender for a 34-yard reception that, combined with a roughing-the-passer penalty, put the ball at the 5.

Moore rushed for 103 yards and VanBeceleare picked up 81 yards for Hayden, while Huston completed 7 of 15 passes for 98 yards.

“Emporia is a good team,” Arnold said. “They put you in some tough situations, but overall our kids made some growth from week one to week two, and that’s all you’re looking for at this time of year.”

Emporia (1-1, 1-1) … 0 … 7 … 6 … 0 … — 13

Hayden (1-1, 1-1) … 7 … 6 … 7 … 0 … — 20

Hay – VanBecelaere 3 run (Mattivi kick)

Hay – Hanika 28 pass from Huston (Huston pass failed)

Emp – Slayden 2 run (Zapata kick)

Emp – J.Stewart 3 run (Zapata kick blocked)

Hay – Moore 5 run (Mattivi kick)

GAME IN FIGURES

… Emp … Hay

First downs … 15 … 15

Rushes-yards … 42-220 … 49-265

Passing yards … 85 … 98

Passes … 6-19-0 … 7-15-1

Fumbles-lost … 3-3 … 1-0

Punts-avg. … 4-36.5 … 7-29.7

Penalties-yards … 4-26 … 5-55

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING – Emporia: Galindo 23-166, J.Stewart 9-28, Slayden 7-21, Gentz 3-5. Hayden: Moore 14-103, VanBecelaere 13-81, Peavler 6-58, Huston 13-20, Williams 1-2, McGehee 2-1.

PASSING – Emporia: J.Stewart 6-19-0, 85 yards. Hayden: Huston 7-15-1, 98.

RECEIVING – Emporia: Finley 3-31, Slayden 2-54, Sp.Stewart 1-0. Hayden: Hanika 4-78, Moore 2-17, Federico 1-3.

PUNTING – Emporia: J.Stewart 4-36.5. Hayden: Huston 7-29.7.

NFL Pick'Em
 

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