Hays earns big road win over Dodge City
DODGE CITY, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Hays Indians defeated the Dodge City Red Demons 39-17 in a Western Athletic Conference game held at Memorial Stadium in Dodge City.
Both teams entered the game with only one loss so far in the season. Hays fell to fellow WAC school Garden City in week four. That same week, Dodge City lost to Bishop Carroll.
Dodge City won the coin toss but elected to defer to the second half. Hays received the opening kick-off and proceeded to go three and out.
The Red Demons took over on their 17-yard line and began a methodical 14 play drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock. The result was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Smith to Isaiah Taylor. Emanuel Aguliar added the extra point to give Dodge City a 7-0 lead midway in the first quarter.
Hays took the ball over and went three and out again.
The Hays defense stepped up and held Dodge to a three and out too on their next possession.
Hays received a punt at their 45-yard line. Roy Moroni rushed for nine yards on the first play. Then Jaren Kanak kept the ball himself and ran 46 yards for a touchdown. Jack Fields added the point after to tie the game at 7 points all.
Dodge City took over and drove down to the Hays 33-yard line again. This time the drive stalled. On fourth down, the Red Demons elected to try a field goal. Emanuel Aguliar kicked a successful 50-yard field goal. Dodge City retook the lead 10 to 7.
Hays only needed one play to take the lead for the first time. Jaren Kanak threw a pass across the middle to an open Kyreese Groen. Groen went all the way to the endzone for a 73-yard touchdown reception.
Jack Fields missed the PAT, and Hays led 13-10.
Dodge City went three and out from deep in their territory.
Hays took over at the Dodge City 17-yard line. On the fifth play, Jaren Kanak dived into the end zone from one yard out. After Jack Fields made a point after the touchdown, Hays’ lead grew to 20 to 10.
Hays would score again in the last minute of the first half. Jaren Kanak looked to keep the ball himself but instead threw a jump pass to Bryce Salmans for a nine-yard touchdown reception. Fields missed the PAT. Hays took a 26 to 10 lead into halftime.
After the break, Dodge City took the ball. They built a little momentum but saw it fade away as they had to punt.
Hays took six plays to score their next touchdown. Jaren Kanak ran a quarterback keeper for 31 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Field made the extra point. Hays now led 33 to 10.
Dodge took five plays before they turned the ball over to Hays on downs. The Indian defense held Dodge City to only five out of 19 third-down conversions all game.
The Hays Indians took over on the Red Demons’ 49-yard line. Jaren Kanak completed three passes to get the Indians within the ten-yard line. Roy Moroni would cap the drive with a two-yard dive to make the score 39-10.
Dodge City added their only points of the second half late in the fourth quarter. Starting on their 28-yard line, Tucker Smith completed three out of five passes on the drive to score on a pass to D’Andre Vontress from 26-yards out.
After Emanuel Aguilar added the extra point, the score was 39 to 17.
Hays would end the game on a clock-eating drive.
The game took almost three hours to complete. A reason for the length came from both teams combining for 31 penalties for 278 yards. Hays accounted for 18 of the flags and 190 yards.
Hays’s Jaren Kanak led in scoring and total yards. He rushed for three touchdowns on 17 touches for a total of 156 yards. He also threw two touchdowns on six of nine passing for 127 yards.
Dodge City quarterback Tucker Smith made 13 of 36 passes for 176 yards and two touchdown receptions. He also led the Red Demons with 39 yards of rushing on seven carries.
“This game is a character check,” Dodge City Head Coach Glenn O’Neil. “Why did the big plays happen for Hays tonight? Was it great execution by Hays, or was it bad execution by us? You’re going to see some of both. They have some D1 guys out there with the speed that can make a little hole turn into a fast, big play. We talk to our players about character all the time. How do you bounce back from a mistake? How do you handle the mistake. Our guys are competitors, and we’ll bounce back.”
“There is a lot of stuff we need to clean up, but we’ll take a victory any time we can get it,” said Hays Head Coach Tony Crough. “We’ve got two good games coming up with some 5A West big boys. It’s time we put up or shut up against those teams.”
Hays hosts Maize South next week and then travels to Wichita Northwest.
This game was Hays’s last game of the season versus a Western Athletic Conference foe. They finish conference play with a 3 and 1 record. They still have a chance to tie for first. To do so, they need some help.
Dodge City faces off against heated rival and fellow WAC member Garden City next week. If Dodge City wins the Hatchet game, Hays shares the title with Garden City.
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