Above photo: Hays Rebel linebacker Peyton Pearson (left, 46) collides with Vista Ridge quarterback Jacob Taute during Friday's district game at Shelton Stadium. Photo by Tracy Stirman.
By Spencer Spilman
The Hays Rebels hosted the Vista Ridge Rangers in an high intensity 25-6A football game Friday that had huge playoff implications.
But a late fourth quarter Vista Ridge touchdown was the difference as the Rangers defeated Hays 46-43.
Hays (3-6, 2-3) falls to sixth place in the distict standings with one game left to play. Hays must defeat Vandegrift next Friday and receive help in order to reach the postseason.
Hays held a 14-12 lead in a low scoring first half via a pair of passing touchdowns by quarterback Tyler Conley.
The tempo ramped up in the second half as Vista Ridge, led by quarterback Jacob Taute, lit up the scoreboard.
Twenty unanswered Vista Ridge points in the third quarter gave the Rangers a 32-14 lead with just a quarter to play. Taute threw five touchdown passes in the game and had a rushing score. Four of Taute’s six touchdowns came in the second half.
The Rebels answered back in the final quarter. A touchdown run by Rebel running back Thailand Mayberry cut the Vista Ridge lead to 32-22 after a two point conversion. The Rebels continued their comeback when backup quarterback Isaac Castilleja tossed a 45 yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Meredith on a triple-reverse-pass, slicing the Ranger lead to 32-29.
After Vista Ridge responded with a score, Hays countered by going on a 14-0 run, capped off by a Mayberry touchdown run.
Hays regained the lead 43-39 with a few minutes left in the game.
Taute, however, responded by scoring his only rushing touchdown of the game, which gave the Rangers a 46-43 advantage.
Hays’ final chance to counter had the Rebels drive the ball inside the Vista Ridge 30-yard line, but the attempt fell short after a failed fourth and long play.