A game-winning interception in the end zone by senior Ryland Kinard allowed the Dripping Springs Tigers to escape with a 21-17 win over Hays High Friday, spoiling the Rebels’ homecoming.
The defensive slugfest between the two teams ultimately came down to the final drive of the game as Hays junior quarterback Xavier Martinez led the offense down the field to the Tigers 6-yard line. With only 22 seconds left in the game, Martinez was intercepted in the end zone by Kinard.
“I just saw that he under threw it so I knew that I had to make a play,” Kinard said of the game winning interception. “We just knew that we had to keep them off the scoreboard to stay in the game.”
The Rebels opened the game with an 11 play, 75-yard drive, which was capped off by seven yard rushing touchdown from Martinez. Although Hays had early success in the run game, a stingy Tiger defense didn’t allow another rushing score. Martinez led Hays in rushing with 92 yards on 15 carries and 1 touchdown, while junior running back Thailand Mayberry contributed 14 carries for 57 yards.
Hays head coach Neal LaHue praised the way his defense played against the Tigers, which returned multiple players from last season’s deep playoff run.
“We still have tendencies to give up some big plays,” said LaHue. “But, compared to last week, I thought they did a hell of a job, they kept us in the game.”
After a Rebel 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, Dripping Springs gained some momentum as junior running back Jake Cox rushed for a 1-yard touchdown right before halftime to push the score to 10-7. Cox finished the game with 82 yards rushing on 15 carries.
“Our offensive line was doing a good job,” Tigers head coach Galen Zimmerman said. “They weren’t going to give us anything big, luckily we had kids make a couple plays.
The only points scored in the third quarter came from Tigers senior quarterback Trevor Greenman on a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown. Hays responded with a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to junior tight end Baylor Jordan.
Jordan finished the game with 4 catches for 69 yards, which was all gathered in the second half.
Greenman then connected with junior wide receiver Parker Alford on a 50-yard reception for a touchdown to put Dripping Springs up 21-17 with just under four minutes left in the game.
“I saw Parker Alford going down the sidelines and I just threw it up and gave him a chance to catch it and score,” said Greenman. “It was great to see him catch that.”
Greenman finished the game 13 of 25 for 209 yards passing and two total touchdowns. Alford added 6 catches for 69 yards and one touchdown for Dripping Springs.
Martinez drove the Rebels down the field 76 yards to the Tiger 6-yard line to put themselves within scoring distance with only 22 seconds left to play. Kinard then forced the second interception of the game and sealed the win to keep Dripping Springs undefeated on the season.
“We needed to handle adversity and see what that’s like and see if our kids respond,” Zimmerman said. “It’s always positive when you can be tested and come out with a W.”
Although Martinez’s late game mistake cost Hays the win, LaHue was impressed by how his quarterback played. Martinez finished the game with two total touchdowns, and was 18 of 21 for 225 yards passing with two interceptions.
“I thought he (Martinez) played a great game,” LaHue said. “He made a mistake there on the throw late. But that happens, it’s football.”
Hays looks to bounce back with a win Friday against the San Antonio Reagan Rattlers (2-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Northeast ISD stadium in San Antonio.
Drippings Springs will vie to remain unbeaten when it hosts the Kerrville Tivy Antlers (2-1) Friday at Tigers Stadium at 7:30 p.m.