Late touchdown lifts Hays past Eisenhower

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 12:58 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Jaren Kanak scored a late touchdown to pull the Hays Indians past the Eisenhower Tigers 19-13.

The two teams met in a Week Nine bracket game. The winner would continue in the 5A playoffs, while the loser would see their season end.

Hays came into the game with a 6-2 record and the seventh seed in the west bracket. Goddard-Eisenhower’s 5-3 record earned them the 10th seed.

The wind was strong as the game started. The teams had to take the northwesterly wind into account on the north-south orientated field.

Eisenhower won the toss and elected to take the ball. Hays chose to kick to the south.

The Tigers went three and out, but a muffed punt reception gave them the ball again. Eisenhower was unable to convert on the next set of downs.

Hays went three and out on their first possession.

The first quarter saw a back and forth between both teams.

At the start of the second quarter, Hays crossed into the Eisenhower side of the field. The Indians drove to the Tiger five-yard line. Roy Moroni took the next handoff into the endzone for the first score of the night.

Jack Fields added the point after the touchdown to give the Indians a 7-0 lead.

Eisenhower took over the ball after the kickoff. They took thirteen plays to respond with a touchdown of their own. Tyner Horn through a quick pass to Mason Levin to add six points.

Brayden Ritchie missed the extra point, and Eisenhower went into the locker room trailing 7-6 at halftime.

Hays started the second half with a great field position of the Eisenhower 33-yard line. Kyreese Groen took the ball on the second down to the end zone to extend the Indians’ lead. A missed extra point set the score a 13-6 Hays.

Late in the third quarter, Eisenhower forced a fumble from Hays’ Roy Moroni on the Tigers’ 42-yard line. After getting to the 23-yard line, Max Brown ran the ball into the endzone to score a second touchdown.

Bradyn Ritchie made the point after the touchdown to tie the score at 13 all.

Jaren Kanak, the quarterback for the Indians, came into the game nursing a hamstring injury from the previous game with Wichita Northwest. As the stakes of the game increased, Kanak asked to get the ball more.

Kanak only carried the ball twice during the first half. In the fourth quarter, the Hays quarterback started to call his number more. In the last frame, he earned 64 of his 92 total rushing yards for the game.

After a period of back and forth possessions, Hays took over the ball on their 15-yard line and about four minutes on the clock.

Kanak led his team on an 11 play drive. Roy Moroni tried to score from two yards out but fell a yard short. With 12 seconds left, Kanak kept the ball on the next play. He muscled his way across the plane to score the go-ahead touchdown.

“It was a weight room, get nasty type of play there,” said Jaren Kanak after the game on his game-winning touchdown. “I got behind everybody, my linemen, tight ends, and we got nasty.”

Hays won 19-13.

The Indians wait for the winner of the Andover versus Salina South game.

Goddard-Eisenhower ends the season with a 5-4 record.

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