Twelve unanswered points in the fourth frame catapulted the Hays Rebels to a stunning 22-21 win over Dripping Springs Friday, spoiling the Tigers’ home opener.
While the Tigers struggled with consistency at times Friday, head coach Galen Zimmerman said he was proud of the effort from his team.
“I didn’t feel like it was us giving them anything. They made a few plays that we needed to do at the end,” Zimmerman said.
Defense was a primary component Hays (2-0) used to orchestrate a furious fourth quarter rally.
Dripping Springs (1-1) led 21-10 after three frames, but the Rebels tallied 12 unanswered fourth quarter points to score the victory.
Hays head coach Les Goad said “winning the fourth quarter” was key to the comeback. Goad lauded the Rebel defense which pitched a shutout in the first and final quarters of the contest.
But early on, Dripping Springs (1-1) took advantage of early Rebel struggles on offense to take a 7-3 halftime advantage. It was highlighted by an interception returned for a touchdown by Tiger lineman Liam Dahl. Dripping Springs defense limited Hays to 57 total yards of offense in the first two quarters.
Zimmerman lauded the play of the defense which has allowed only 34 total points over two games. That included limited a potent Kerrville Tivy offense to less than 300 yards of total offense in Week 1.
“They play hard. Our kids are going to be physical and they play great team defense,” Zimmerman said. “We’re undersized and we have to. They understand we’re stronger together and they play well together.
Dripping Springs maintained momentum in the third frame by outscoring the Rebels 14-7. Aiding that run were two Alford touchdown runs, including a 46-yard score, which gave the Tigers a 21-10 lead.
Zimmerman said the Tiger offense was able to “take advantage” of what the Rebel defense threw at them.
“It was good to see there was some stuff there that they gave us and we were able to take it and make a good play into a great play a few times and get some momentum,” Zimmerman said.
Momentum shifted early in the fourth frame when Rebel quarterback Durand Hill tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Bryant Lewis, which cut the Tiger lead to 21-16.
Five minutes later, Hays running back Xavier Green punched in a 13-yard go-ahead touchdown run that gave the Rebels a 22-21 advantage with just under three minutes to go.
In between those events was a Rebel defense that kept Alford and the Tiger offense in check. Hays forced back-to-back punts, followed by a turnover forced by Rebel linebacker Coleman Johnson on the Tigers’ final offensive drive, sealing the game.
“It was a great battle between two good programs. We’re proud and happy to come out on top again,” Goad said.
Improving consistency and playing four full quarters of football is the goal for Zimmerman as they close non-district play Friday.
Dripping Springs travels to play at New Braunfels Canyon Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Tigers then open district play against Austin Travis Sept. 20.
“We have to work on becoming consistent offensively. But you have to love the effort of our kids and how they fought,” Zimmerman said. “It was a dang good game. We had our chance to win it. That’s something we’ll learn from.”