Maize South holds off late Hays comeback

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:50 PM CDT
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MAIZE, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Coming in with a 5-0 mark, Hays knew they had a challenge ahead of them if they were to remain unbeaten. Facing a talented Maize South squad, the Indians went to battle without starters at quarterback, running back, left tackle and in the defensive backfield.

Starting wide receiver Jaren Kanak stepped in for Hays at QB and nearly lead the Indians to comeback win, but a late two point conversion attempt was stopped by the Maverick defense as they held on for a 21-20 win.

Maverick QB Colin Shields fumbled away the first Maize South snap of the game following a three and out, and Kanak took advantage, not throwing a single pass before punching in a 23 yard touchdown on the QB keeper.

But then Shields settled in. He lead the Mavs right down the field the next drive, finishing it with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Jake Johnson to level the score at 7.

The next defensive possession for the Mavs may have saved the game for them. Kanak went to the air, competing a 34 yard pass to Kyler Beckman on one of his just 6 pass attempts of the day. Then Kanak thought he had given Hays the lead, but a great rushing score from 19 yards out was called back due to a block in the back. A second penalty pushed Hays even further back, forcing a 40 yard field goal attempt that came up short.

The Mavs turned that defensive stand into more points behind the rushing of Evan Cantu. The junior, who earlier in the year was forced into the lead back role in place of an injured Hunter Niemann, ran for 141 yards and the score that gave Maize South its first lead of the day at 14-7.

Another punt from Hays lead to more of the Shields to Johnson connection, with Shields delivering a rainbow to Johnson for a 39 yard touchdown, giving the Mavs 21 unanswered and a 14 point lead heading to halftime.

Oct 9, 2020; Maize, Kansas, USA; during a game between the Maize Eagles and Maize South...
Oct 9, 2020; Maize, Kansas, USA; during a game between the Maize Eagles and Maize South Mavericks ©KellyRoss(©KellyRoss)

The second half started with a bang for Hays. Wyatt Crain went up and intercepted a Shields pass on the Mavs opening drive of the half, the Indians opening both halves with forced turnovers. Kanak then went to the air finding Bryce Salmans for a 22 yard score on the ensuing drive to cut it to 21-14.

The defensees traded stops until late in the 4th quarter, when Hays drove it 98 yards to score with less than three minutes to play, Kanak scoring his second rushing touchdown of the day. But the Indians chose to go for two and a potential win versus tying the game up, and the Maverick defense came up with a stop, stuffing Kanak in the backfield to seal the win.

The win moves Maize South to 4-2 on the year, while Hays drops its first game and falls to 5-1. Things get no easier for either side next week; Hays will host 1-loss Kapaun and Maize South will travel to Derby.

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