By Moses Leos III
For roughly the first 16-plus minutes Thursday, the Hays Rebels managed to hold serve with the Georgetown Eagles. And then the bottom fell out.
A six-minute, 21-0 Georgetown run to close the first half pushed the Eagles to a 59-30 win over Hays High at the Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex.
For Hays head coach Neal LaHue, improvement is the goal as the Rebels exit non-district play with a 1-1 mark.
“We saw some good things and we saw some things we have to work on. That’s what non-district is about,” LaHue said. “I feel better than I did last year. But this (loss) leaves a bitter taste in my mouth tonight, because I think we’re better than this score.”
Hays struggled to halt the tandem of Eagle running back Dakota Cahill and quarterback Chandler Hermann. The duo combined for all eight of the Eagles’ touchdowns and amassed 398 of the team’s 524 total yards.
On the opposite side, quarterback Braeden Kent led the Rebel offense by amassing 332 of the team’s 472 total yards.
Both teams went toe-to-toe in the early going, as Hays and Georgetown traded punches.
Georgetown led 14-7 after a quarter before Kent found Dustin Bruno in the back of the end zone for a six yard touchdown pass. After holding the Eagles to a field goal, the Rebels responded by marching down the field for a 10 play, 73-yard drive. Cade Powell capped it off with an eight yard touchdown run, giving Hays a 20-17 lead and momentum.
Despite occasional struggles, the Rebel offense found ways to generate movement and pile up yardage on the Eagle defense.
Kent finished the game by going 26 of 44 for 234 passing yards and two touchdowns. Both of Kent’s touchdowns went to Bruno, who hauled in 40 yards on the night. Behind Kent’s team high 98 rushing yards was running back Powell, who rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. Running back Cody Gandy rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown.
But the Rebels became their own worst enemies as they enabled Georgetown’s 21-point, six-minute flurry to end the half.
A pair of tremendous plays by Eagle wide receiver Ja’Vonta Grimble in the final minute of the first half led to the Rebels’ demise.
After being pinned at their two-yard line via a punt, Hermann reared back and found Grimble, who outran defenders en-route to a 98-yard touchdown.
The duo hooked up again less than a minute later. Following a Rebel fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles took advantage and punched in a score, with Grimble snagging a six-yard touchdown pass over a Rebel defender. The Eagles held a commanding 31-20 lead and didn’t look back from there.
“You have to respond to those situations, and we didn’t,” LaHue said. “Hopefully it’s a learning situation for us.”
The Eagle offense turned to Cahill, who burst onto the scene by scoring Georgetown’s final three touchdowns of the game.
Cahill recorded a 46-yard touchdown run three plays into the second half. After Hays tallied a 30-yard field goal from Jax Kell, the Eagles countered with a 1 yard rushing score from Cahill. He followed by sprinting for a 45-yard touchdown, keeping Hays out of reach.
Hays wide receiver Brandon Hunter caught four catches for 39 yards. Grimble gained 112 yards on six catches and had two touchdowns.