Bastrop quarterback Josiah Monroe (8) spent a lot of Friday night like this, evading the Hays pass rush and directing his receivers before completing passes down field. Photos by Wyatt Dodds.
By BILL PETERSON
BUDA — Bob Shelton looked about as disappointed as he’s ever looked after a loss Friday night, right after a Bastrop team came into Bob Shelton Stadium and put a whipping on his Hays team like no Bastrop team has done to a Hays team in a generation.
The difference on the stat sheet wasn’t enough to decide a ball game — Bastrop outgained Hays only 372 yards to 300 — but the scoreboard told a much more true story. Bastrop 34, Hays 14.
The difference was in the speed, especially in the quarterbacking. The Rebels are crippled at that position, while Bastrop quarterback Josiah Monroe played his opener Friday night with a spring in his step.
Hays quarterback Sam Breyfogle missed much of the fall practice period after undergoing an appendectomy. In his place, the Rebels worked Phillip Abreo, who usually is their fullback. Breyfogle ended up playing about half of the downs Friday night, but he was not sharp, and if Abreo didn’t make turnovers, he also didn’t light up the Hays offense.
Meanwhile, Monroe butchered the Hays defense, completing 12 of 19 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Monroe’s darting quickness constantly frustrated Hays pass rushers, keeping plays alive for long enough to allow Bastrop receivers to lose Hays defenders. That accomplished, Monroe would let it fly, often with explosive results.
“We knew he was a threat,” Shelton said about Monroe. “He was hard to contain.”
Said Bastrop coach Gerald Perry about Monroe, “He’s a great athlete. He missed a few reads early in the first half and scrambled. We don’t want him doing that. We talked to him about it and he corrected it and threw down field.”
Before Bastrop beat Hays 34-27 in overtime last year at Bastrop, the Rebels won ten straight meetings between the teams starting in 1996 and 13 out of 14 starting in 1992. In 1991, Bastrop chalked up a 31-14 win, which it later had to forfeit. Bastrop destroyed Hays three straight times in 1988, 1989 and 1990 by a combined score of 93-8.
The return to that sort of beating from Bastrop did not please the Hays coach of 42 years on a night when something of the Hays aura was missing. The Hays crowd, frustrated into silence by Monroe’s constant escape tricks, feigned little enthusiasm during critical junctures in the second half, which were rare, anyway.
The Rebels finished the game converting only two of nine third downs, with Breyfogle completing only one of five passes in that situation. Breyfogle also threw two interceptions late in the first half as the Rebels tried to close a 17-6 deficit before the intermission. After the Rebels stormed to 108 offensive yards in the first quarter, they scratched out a mere 192 yards during the next three.
“We sputtered quite a bit in a lot of ways,” Shelton said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
At no point in the game could Hays stop the Bastrop offense, which scored on its first three possessions. Bastrop punted only once in the entire game.
The Rebels began with flair, marching 80 yards in ten plays off the opening kickoff for their first touchdown and lead of the season. The big play came on Breyfogle’s 35-yard pass to Kamien Carpenter, moving the Rebels to the Bastrop 42. Later, Trace Gandy ran three yards for the touchdown, but the Rebels couldn’t convert the two-point pass, limiting their lead to 6-0.
Bastrop marched to the Hays 28 its first time with the ball, then broke out a useful weapon when Lee McMillan kicked a 44-yard field goal that brought his team within 6-3. When the Rebels punted at the end of their next two possessions, Bastrop responded with touchdowns that turned the game decisively in the visitors’ favor.
The first of those drives included Monroe passes of 35 yards to Auston Shipley and 40 yards to Josh Taylor. Shipley caught the touchdown pass from eight yards out, giving Bastrop a 10-6 lead.
The next Bastrop drive started with a 17-yard pass from Monroe to Chris Fletcher, putting the ball on the Hays 27. Later, Shipley caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-6. Shipley ended the night with six catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Hays attempted to drive from its own 11, starting with 2:09 left in the half. Breyfogle completed three straight passes to put the Rebels on Bastrop’s 43 with 1:02 left. But Pete Rodriguez intercepted Breyfogle at the Bastrop 24, ending that threat.
“Sam was obviously rusty,” Shelton said. “He’ll get better as he gets more reps.”
McMillan’s 31-yard field goal, following a 48-yard punt return by Adam Mack, increased Bastrop’s lead to 20-6 with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Hays then moved from its own 34 to the Bastrop 28 in 13 plays, but Breyfogle threw incomplete on third and fourth downs and Bastrop regained possession.
Monroe came right back with the daggers, throwing 28 yards to Shipley, then 17 yards to Fletcher, placing the ball on the Hays 27. Two plays later, Monroe found Mustafa Akbar with a 16-yard touchdown pass, giving the Bears a 27-6 lead with 10:35 left in the game.
Martin Casias gave Hays a glimmer of hope, intercepting Monroe and returning the ball 37 yards to the Bastrop 30. A face-masking call against Bastrop moved the ball to the 15. After the Rebels lost a yard, Gandy ran for 12 and four yards, the latter for a touchdown that brought Hays to within 27-13 with 5:21 left.
If it appeared for a moment that the Hays mystique would prevail, that the Rebels would once again come from behind with the slower, smaller team on the field, Monroe dispelled that notion quickly.
On second-and-13, Monroe found Fletcher for a 35-yard gain to the Hays 24. Four plays later, Monroe threw nine yards to Taylor for a touchdown, making it 34-14 with only 1:53 left.
Gandy led the Hays attack with 105 yards in 21 carries, while Anthony Garza ran hard for 71 yards in nine carries. But the night was not an otherwise auspicious moment for the Hays offense.
Inconsistency on first down especially bedeviled the Rebels. In their 21 first-down snaps between the start of the second quarter and the final Bastrop touchdown, the Rebels produced two gains of three yards, two gains of zero to two yards, four lost-yardage plays, two penalties and two interceptions.
Obviously, this team needs to get Breyfogle healthy and strong after he completed eight of 15 passes for 86 yards Friday night. And the Rebels don’t have their usual allotment of time between games to do it. They’re back on the field next Thursday night against Anderson at House Park in Austin for a 7 p.m. kick-off.
Hays quarterback Phillip Abreo makes a short run before he is reached by Bastrop tacklers.
Bastrop quaerterback Josiah Monroe works from the pocket.Email | Print