AUSTIN – Out of all the plays Hays Rebels senior defensive back Jaidon Bialaszewski made Friday at Burger Stadium, few held as much impact as the last.
By keeping a Bowie Bulldogs wide receiver one yard short of the end zone as time expired, Bialaszewski became the instant hero in a heart-stopping 35-28 Rebel district road win.
For Bialaszewski, only one thought came to mind as he saw the wide receiver coming toward him – “Just protect the end zone.”
“I saw him coming in. I honestly thought he was going to score,” Bialaszewski said. “But I put everything I had into that hit.”
Bialaszewski’s play was the final act in a back-and-forth contest that featured three ties. The Rebels, however, never lost control of the lead at any point in the game.
Hays (4-0, 2-0) gained the upper hand in the first frame by scoring 14 unanswered points aided by a pair of Bowie miscues.
The Rebels turned an early first quarter Bowie fumble into a four play, 24 yard drive capped off by a short touchdown run by senior running back Nash Danford.
With a 7-0 lead in hand, Hays then recovered the ensuing kickoff, which turned into another four play scoring drive. A 26-yard touchdown run by running back Martin Shoemaker gave Hays a 14-0 lead.
Bowie bounced back by scoring 14 unanswered points early in the second frame, highlighted by an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown by wide receiver Jackson Lord.
The Rebels responded on the next drive by going 75 yards in six plays, finished with a four yard touchdown run by junior running back Xavier Green.
Bowie, however, closed the first half with a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Mallett to Lord, retying the score at 21-21 at intermission.
Both teams quite literally hit the ground running in the second half.
Hays opened the third frame with a methodical 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:48 off the clock. A one-yard touchdown plunge from senior running back Devin Hines placed the Rebels ahead at 28-21.
The Bulldogs turned to running back Kyle Carter with much success on the ensuing drive. Carter, who took direct snaps from center, led an equally meticulous ten play, five minute drive that closed the third frame. A seven yard touchdown run from Bulldog running back Terance Durst retied the contest at 28-28 heading into the fourth quarter. Carter led Bowie with 117 yards rushing and touchdown.
But a critical defensive stop late in the fourth frame gave Hays’ offense a chance to take the lead. They took advantage, capitalizing on several big plays, including a 50-yard pass from Rebel senior quarterback Xavier Martinez to senior tight end Bayler Jordan.
Shoemaker closed the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to give Hays a 35-28 lead with 87 seconds left in the game.
Bowie’s final chance drove deep into Rebel territory, but was thwarted by Bialaszewski.
Shoemaker led the Rebels with 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Danford rushed for 75 yards and a score. Hays finished with 266 total rushing yards on the ground in the game.
Hays hosts Akins Friday at Shelton Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.