A lack execution on offense and missed opportunities on defense were key components in the Hays Rebels’ 44-28 senior night home loss to the Lake Travis Cavaliers.
“I felt like they fought really hard,” Hays head coach Les Goad said. “I feel bad that I didn’t make the right decisions at the right times.”
After giving up an opening drive touchdown to Lake Travis running back Weston Stephens, the Rebel offense responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by senior running back Devin Hines.
Following that drive, Hays’ offense sputtered for the next two-and-a-half quarters as the Cavalier defense clamped down and minimized explosive plays and first downs.
“You know, we had a great drive to open the game, and we had to sustain that,” Goad said. “I feel like some decisions there on the second and third drive, if we could’ve just got that momentum back, and part of that is on me just making the right calls. But I felt like our guys competed and I’m proud of their efforts.”
Lake Travis’ offense, led by junior quarterback Hudson Card, carved up the Rebel defense in the second quarter for three total touchdowns. Stephens scored twice with a 9-yard catch and a 4-yard run, while Card also found the end zone on a 3-yard run which gave the Cavaliers a 28-7 lead at intermission.
Rebel struggles not only extended to offense, but also to its defense, which was unable to secure two would-be turnovers, which could have changed momentum.
On two separate drives in the first half, a Rebel defender was in position to intercept Card, but the ball fell through their hands on both occasions. Lake Travis capitalized on its good fortune and tallied scores on both drives.
“We are getting better at things that we are doing, it’s just making that extra play and getting those turnovers when we have that opportunity,” Goad said. “Against a quality team like this, you’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity you get.”
Lake Travis extended its lead to 35-7 after three frames before Hays mounted a comeback.
The Rebel offense showed signs of life in the fourth quarter scoring three touchdowns. A 59-yard touchdown run by Bobby Green, a 2-yard score by Nash Danford, and a 32-yard touchdown pass from Demetrius Hill to Joeangel Carrasco highlighted the Rebels’ scores by the end of regulation.
However, it was too little too late as Hays was unable to make up the deficit.
“It still comes down to the fundamentals of the game, the blocking; we’ve got to stay on our blocks longer and we just need to execute,” Goad said. “Some of it was some play calling where I just need to put us in the right position. I’ll take that.”
Hines finished the game with 15 carries for 48 yards and one touchdown, and Green contributed 84 yards and one touchdown on seven carries.
For Lake Travis, Card finished the game completing 26 of 36 passes for 216 yards and three total touchdowns, while Stephens had eight carries for 65 yards and four total touchdowns.
With the loss, Hays is locked into the second seed out of 25-6A in the Division I bracket. The Rebels are slated to play No. 3 Converse Judson in the bidistrict round.
Hays closes the regular season Friday on the road at Del Valle. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Del Valle (2-5).