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Hays Indians return a strong and experienced defense

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 11:49 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Entering year three at Hays High School, coach Crough is turning around the program one season at a time, hoping to make the program more competitive in 5A.

Tony Crough, Hays head football coach said, “It was a good way to finish last season. "

Last season, the Indians won their first playoff game in over 25 years.

“We kind of had an up and down season last year with a bunch of young kids on the field,” said Crough. “But being able to do something that only two other teams in school history have done was pretty good for the kids.”

But now that young talent has developed into experienced playmakers.

“12 kids that played on the defense returning, and 9 starters. So our defense is really going to be strong. And then the skill kids on offense have all also had a ton of reps, they’re all coming back from last year,” said Crough.

The team is led by seniors: Gaven Haselhort (K-State commit at defensive end) and free safety Tucker Veach, along with junior quarterback Dylan Dreiling.

Crough said, “Yeah he was a sophomore last year and so he played like a sophomore last year. He’s got an incredibly high ceiling and we thing he’s going to have a great year.”

Crough said a lot of kids are playing one-way, specializing on one side of the ball to set the team up for success come playoffs.

“Hays has always flipped back and forth to 5A and 4A. So we’re trying to make it when we get in the playoffs, we can be more competitive with the 5A teams where a lot of them have 40, 50 more kids out for football than we do,” said Crough.

He's grateful western Kansas hasn't needed as many COVID restrictions as other parts of the state. The team still wasn't able to hold as many summer workouts and practices due to CDC guidelines but he's optimistic about the experience returning this season.

“It’s been different for us out here in Western Kansas. So with a lot of stuff getting shut down across the state. Our kids, they see the impact, they haven’t really felt it,” said Crough. “So we’ve been pretty lucky and blessed out here and we just hope we can continue to put this team on the field.”

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