Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hayden Rallies Past Holton

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hayden Rallies Past Holton

Article excerpt

It wasn't the radical swing of a year ago when Hayden's defense completely flipped its Class 4A District I showdown with Holton in the third quarter, producing three turnovers that led to three touchdowns and a 26-point explosion.

No, this one was way more subtle.

But make no mistake about it, even without the eye-catching plays the performance of Hayden's defense in the third quarter of Friday's rematch was just as big as the turnaround a year ago. After giving up 200 yards and two touchdowns to visiting Holton in the opening half, Hayden clamped down and surrendered just four yards in the third quarter.

The defensive spark finally lit a fire under the Wildcat offense, which scored 20 unanswered points in the second half for a 27-13 victory. The win, coupled with Santa Fe Trail's 18-0 victory over Jefferson West, wrapped up the district title for Hayden, which improved to 4-4.

"We kind of flip a switch," Hayden senior linebacker Brent Peavler said. "I don't know if it's because we're mad or just knowing we can do what we can do. We just flipped a switch that second half and played hard."

Holton absolutely gouged the Hayden defense on the opening drive of the game, ripping consecutive runs of 37, 14, 13 and 12 yards to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by AJ Haussler just more than two minutes into the game.

Nothing came that easily again, but after Hayden tied it with a 12-yard run from freshman Desmond Purnell on its first drive, Holton used another 80-yard drive to take a 13-7 halftime lead, outgaining Hayden 200-186 in the half.

In the second half, however, Holton managed just 54 total yards and one first down, the bulk of it coming on a 34-yard pass by Mason Strader to the Hayden 20. Holton couldn't punch in the score, however, as Hayden held on four straight plays, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down.

"We just didn't get that first first down (in the second half)," Holton coach Brooks Barta said. "We came out and really executed well and executed fast in that first quarter and then we couldn't get that first down and credit them because they took that away from us."

With the defense holding its ground, Hayden's offense finally found its footing after seeing four straight drives inside the Holton 20 turn into zero points. …

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