Twenty-one unanswered second half points helped the Hays Rebels notch a 41-13 season opening win over the San Marcos Rattlers Friday at Shelton Stadium.
Anchoring it all was a Rebel defense that garnered critical plays down the stretch, including a takeaway by defensive back Justin McMahon that helped spur the run.
Hays (1-0) led 20-13 at intermission, but had their backs against the wall midway through the third frame when San Marcos drove deep into Rebel territory and was on the verge of a game-tying or go-ahead score.
But McMahon, who got his first varsity start Friday, snagged an interception in the back of the end zone to negate the drive.
The Rebels responded on the ensuing possession by marching 80 yards on 10-plays, capped off by a two-yard touchdown run from slot back Quincy Jackson, giving them a 27-13 advantage.
After Hays forced a turnover on downs to start the fourth frame, Hays followed with an 11-play, 83 yard drive that ended with a three yard touchdown run from quarterback Durand Hill. Hays running back Christian Garcia punched in a six-yard score late in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 41-13.
Hill went 5 of 11 for 98 yards and a touchdown passing with an interception along with 79 yards rushing and a score. Rebel running back Xavier Green rushed for 93 yards, while Nate Green had 47 yards and a score.
Rattler quarterback Alex Garcia went 13 of 26 for 137 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions passing, while Diego Cruz rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown.