|Wildcats race past Hayes Center Cardinals|
By Travis McConnell
Speed kills in eight-man football and that was very evident Friday night as the Wallace Wildcats used their tremendous speed advantage to run past the much bigger, but much slower Hayes Center Cardinals, 30-12.
A lightning delay caused the game to start nearly an hour- and-half later than scheduled and when the game did start, high winds limited both teams passing games.
After a scoreless first quarter the Wildcats struck first on a three-yard touchdown run by Shawn Christensen. Christensen’s run capped a seven play, 35-yard drive into the wind. Taylor Doell added the two point conversion to give the Wildcats an 8-0 lead with 9:12 to play in the first half.
Hayes Center used the wind and opened up their passing game in the second quarter as they responded with a nice touchdown drive of their own.
Following a holding penalty that left them with a third and 15 at their own 22-yard line, Tyler Rehbein found Tristan Johnson behind the Wildcat secondary for a 43- yard gain to the Wallace 15-yard line.
Three plays later Rehbein hit Adam Lawson for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion pass was no good and Wallace still led 8-6 with 6:07 to play in the first half.
After the ensuing kickoff, the game was suspended again by lightning. After a 30-minute delay, play resumed in a steady rain.
The Wildcats took little time getting warmed up after the stoppage and used six plays to extend their lead to 16-6 late in the half.
Christensen struck from 34 yards out after being stopped on a dive play in the middle, bouncing to the outside and outrunning everyone to the end zone. Sean May’s pass to Christensten was successful on the two-point conversion.
Hayes Center threatened right before halftime, but turned the ball over on downs at the Wallace 25-yard line.
At halftime the Wildcats led 16-6.
Wallace got the ball to start the second half and chewed up almost half of the third quarter before extending their lead to 24-6.
The biggest play of the drive was a one-yard quarterback sneak by May that picked up a first down by inches at the Wildcat 31-yard line.
May scored seven plays later on a beautiful run in which he bounced off of three tacklers within three yards of the line of scrimmage, then outran everyone to the endzone from 21 yards out. May also tacked on the two point conversion to give the Wildcats an 18-point lead with 6:53 to play in the third quarter.
Hayes Center responded once again with a long sustained drive that covered 58 yards. Rehbein found Lawson again for an eight-yard touchdown pass to cap the 13-play drive that took 5:52 seconds.
Despite giving up the touchdown, the Wildcats limited the big plays for Hayes Center, as the longest play of the drive was the eight-yard touchdown pass.
“Tackling was the key to the game,” said Wallace coach Derek Hutchison. “This was by far the best we have tackled all year.”
The Wildcats threatened on their first drive of the fourth quarter, but were stopped on downs at the Cardinal four-yard line.
Hayes Center used a fake punt on fourth and two from their own 10-yard line to get out of a hole. However, Landon Swedberg put a stop to the drive three plays later with an interception at the Wallace 31-yard line.
Wallace took advantage of the turnover two plays later when May hit Doell with a 47-yard touchdown strike to make the score 30-12.
Doell then ended the next Cardinal drive with an interception at the Wallace 16-yard line.
May rushed for 163 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown. Christensen gained 100 yards rushing on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns.
With the win the Wildcats improve to 4-2 on the season.
The Wildcats will host the 5-1 Brady Eagles on Friday night. This will be the last regular season home game and kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT.