by Moses Leos III
When the going got tough Friday, the Hays Rebels starting running.
An adherence to the ground game laid the foundation for Hays' 48-14 win over the Del Valle Cardinals at Shelton Stadium. Hays (2-2, 1-1) breaks its two game losing streak and evens its district and overall records.
The Rebel run game flourished as it amassed 300 yards Friday. Senior running back Cody Gandy led the way 138 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Hays gained 378 total yards on the night.
But it was Del Valle that drew first blood. The Cardinals struck first via a 46 yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Gutierrez to wide receiver Emmanuel Martin.
Del Valle led 7-0 with 8:30 left in the first quarter. It was the last points the Cardinals scored until the fourth frame.
During that time, Hays registered 41 unanswered points on a Cardinal defense that couldn’t corral the Rebels’ rush attack.
Strong special teams play played a pivotal role in the Rebels’ first half success. Big punt returns from wide receiver Dustin Bruno gave the Rebel offense short fields to work with. Kicker Jax Kell contributed to the effort with a pair of field goals in the first half.
Hays took a 13-7 lead and added to it when quarterback Cody Reiley scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper. Hays led 20-7 at the half and poured on the offense from there.
Hays added 28 more points in the second half, highlighted by a pair of rushing touchdowns by running back Cade Powell.
On the opposite side, the Rebel defense shut down a speedy Cardinal offense to the tune of 269 yards. Hays limited Gutierrez to 89 total yards before he exited the game at halftime due to injury.
Reiley went 5 of 9 for 56 yards passing; he added 63 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns. Powell rushed for 72 yards on the night.