By BILL PETERSON
The Hays Rebels haven’t opened a high school football season 0-2 since 1999, and the prospects for keeping that streak appeared dim after their first game turned up a 34-14 loss at home against Bastrop last Friday night.
The Rebels suffered from spotty quarterback play and an inability to contain Bastrop quarterback Josiah Monroe, who torched them for 254 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Making matters a little more difficult is a short turn-around for the Rebels, who play Anderson Thursday night at House Park (7 p.m.).
But Hays coach Bob Shelton said it might actually be advantageous to come back in less than a week. The Rebels beat Anderson, 34-13 last year at Bob Shelton Stadium, living off an opportunistic defense that set up two touchdowns with turnovers deep in Anderson territory.
“We’d like to get another win,” Shelton said. ” … It could be good for us to come back a little quicker and play so we can maybe get that taste out of our mouth from last week’s game.”
The bitterness arose from all aspects of that Hays performance last Friday. The offense produced too little too often on first and third down. The defense couldn’t reach Monroe or cover his receivers, and the Bastrop running game averaged 4.91 yards per carry, logging 113 yards in 23 attempts. The Rebels averaged only 30 yards per punt, enabled Bastrop to set up a short field goal with a 48-yard punt return and two other times allowed Bastrop to set up at its 45 or better after kicks.
“We’ve got a lot of improving to do,” Shelton said. “Our kicking game was terrible last week. We have to get better on offense, defense, all three sides of the ball, really.”
The Rebels can look forward to some stability at the quarterback position. Sam Breyfogle, who was going to miss last week’s game after an appendectomy and ended up playing mostly on desire, completed only eight of 15 passes for 86 yards against Bastrop as he rotated with Phillip Abreo, who usually is their fullback.
“We’ll have Sam back at full speed,” Shelton said. “He should be able to play the whole game.”
By most accounts, the Anderson defense is its strongest unit, so Breyfogle’s presence figures to make a big difference. If he can push the ball downfield in the passing game, it would add a dimension that was missing last week. The Rebels ran the ball well enough, with Trace Gandy gaining 105 yards in 21 carries and Anthony Garza going 71 yards in nine attempts, but a lack of texture in their offense constantly thwarted the Rebels.
Anderson finished last year 2-8 in District 25-5A. The Trojans were young at quarterback with sophomore Sam Wehmeyer, who now is a junior. Wehmeyer completed eight of 11 passes for 172 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-17 win against McCallum last week. One of the touchdown passes went for 55 yards, and the other covered 50 yards. Wehmeyer also rushed for 42 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown.
“We need to get some pressure on him,” Shelton said. “He throws the ball pretty well and he moves pretty well. They like him.”
The Hays defense basically won the Anderson game last year, holding the Trojans to 238 total yards and producing five turnovers, including four fumble recoveries in the second half. Gandy was the offensive star for Hays in that game, rushing for 101 yards.
But it’s a new year. The Rebels are a little younger, the Trojans are a little older, and the game is being played on Anderson’s turf in downtown Austin. For the Rebels to succeed, they’re going to have to be a lot better than last week against Bastrop.
“I think our practices have been really good,” Shelton said. “It’s still hot, but it’s not as hot as it has been, and our players are working well.”
The Rebels will have to reach a high level quickly if they’re going to win during the pre-district portion of their season, because the next four weeks don’t present them with a lot of cut-and-dried chances to win.
Next week, the Rebels play at home against Bowie, which smashed Vista Ridge, 38-7, in its opener. Two weeks after that, they go to Rosenberg Lamar, which is two years removed from winning a state championship and beat Texas City, 27-14, in its opener. In between, the Rebels play McCallum.Email | Print