Reagan rallies to eliminate Hays in 26-25 thriller

Twelve unanswered San Antonio Reagan Rattler points scored in the final 25-plus minutes of play Friday brought Hays Rebels’ season to a close in a heartbreaking 26-25 loss at Comalander Stadium.

Hays (4-6) used a methodical approach on offense to much success in the first half. A one yard touchdown from quarterback Xavier Martinez capped off a 12-play, 70-yard Rebel drive to give Hays a 7-0 advantage in the first quarter.

But the Rebels struggled to corral an effective Reagan air assault that made big plays throughout the course of the game. Rattler quarterback Travis Sthele tossed a 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Uresti to tie the score at 7-7.

Hays turned to its run game to gain separation, and momentum, early in the second quarter. A nine yard touchdown run by senior running back Cade Powell gave Hays a 14-7 lead.

Following an interception by defensive back Jaidon Bialaszewski, Hays needed four plays to expand its lead to 22-7 after a successful two-point conversion.

Martinez went 18 of 32 for 154 yards passing, while also rushing for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Powell rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown.

Hays Rebel quarterback Xavier Martinez (18) runs past the goal line after a short touchdown run in the first half of Friday’s game at Comalander Stadium in San Antonio. (Photo by Nathan Latsha)

Reagan cut the Rebel lead to 22-14 after a 66-yard touchdown pass from Sthele to wide receiver Konner Fox. A 25-yard field goal from Hays kicker Joe Banuelos gave the Rebels a 25-14 lead late in the second frame.

Hays, however, couldn’t match up with the size and speed of Reagan’s wide receivers. Sthele connected with Uresti for a 13-yard touchdown pass with a minute left before halftime to cut Hays’ lead to 25-20.

Reagan followed with a methodical 10-play, 77-yard drive that erased nearly four minutes in the third quarter. A short touchdown run by Sthele gave Reagan its first and only lead at 26-25.

Hays orchestrated three final drives to respond, but Reagan’s defense forced three turnovers on downs to close the game.

Sthele went 13 of 22 for 287 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Fox caught seven passes for 162 yards and one touchdown.

Hays’ Thai Mayberry finished with a team high 47 yards, which pushed him over the 1,000 yard rushing mark on the season.

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