By JASON GORDON
When Seguin visited Taven Mayberry’s house as Halloween loomed, the senior wasn’t very kind to the Matadors.
He had many more tricks for Seguin than treats.
If there was ever any question whether Mayberry has reached full strength it was answered Thursday night against the Matadors.
When Hays High needed him most, Mayberry responded with 187 rushing yards to lead the Rebels to a 44-23 win at Shelton Stadium.
With the win, Hays clinches a playoff spot. If the Rebels (7-1, 4-1 27-4A) beat Boerne Champion Friday night at Shelton Stadium, they will play at Alamo Heights for a share of the district title Nov. 9.
“It feels great to clinch a playoff berth,” said Hays head coach Blake Feldt. “We need Taven Mayberry performing like he did tonight if we want to make it to a championship level as a football team.”
Mayberry missed time earlier in the season recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in the spring and a badly sprained ankle against Lehman. He was as quick and fast as he’s been all season against the Matadors.
“When he’s healthy I think Taven is the best halfback in Central Texas,” said Hays lineman William Trevillion. “He’s got all the moves to break free and the speed to run away from anyone that’s close to him.”
The Rebs looked to have things in control against Seguin (4-4, 3-2), leading 23-7 at halftime, but the Matadors rallied to within 23-16 after Genovani Watson sacked Caleb Kimbro for a safety and Colton Applewhite scored on a 13-yard run.
But the Hays offensive line took over from there as the Rebels scored on two straight drives, capped by touchdown runs by Beau Reed and Marco Solis, without throwing a single pass. The Rebs finished the game with 520 yards total offense and 363 yards rushing.
Hays’ starting offensive line – Reed Darragh, Connor Lanfear, Jose Vasquez, Jacob Abrego, Alexander Key and Trevillion – dominated much of the game.
Jared Rodriguez’s interception thwarted any chance of a late comeback from Seguin, and the Rebel defense stopped the Matadors on four fourth down attempts in the game.
Emory Cuzze, Daniel Minor, Aaron Johnson, Christian Rodriguez and Trevillion also had big plays for the Rebel defense against the Matadors.
Hays started the game strong by scoring on its opening drive. Mayberry’s 23-yard run set up Caleb Kimbro’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Granger Studdard.
After Devin Jennings sacked Matador quarterback Walker Franz, helping to stop Seguin’s next drive, the Rebels went on the attack again.
A 31-yard wide-receiver screen pass from Kimbro to Studdard paved the way for Solis to dive in for a two-yard score, and Hays led 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Mayberry scored on a seven-yard sweep play to make it 20-0 and it looked like Hays was going to cruise to victory, but the Matadors made a valiant surge before the Rebels put the game away.
The Rebels had a “Rudy” moment late, as one of the team’s most talented seniors, Jaxson Schaubhut, who rushed for 134 yards in a win his sophomore year against Canyon and who scored three touchdowns in the season-opener this season against Burbank, was brought in to take the final snap and kneel down as the waning seconds ticked to zero.
Schaubhut suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this season against Lehman and was scheduled to undergo surgery this week.
“We felt it was the least we could do for Jaxson,” Kimbro said. “He’s been through a lot and he’s a big part of this team. We wanted him to know that.”
Hays and Boerne Champion kick off at Shelton Stadium Friday night at 7:30 p.m.