A rare, forgettable season of Hays Rebels is in the books with their 45-14 loss to Huntsville in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs Saturday.
The Rebels finished 4-7, their first losing season since 1985. The Rebels never picked up steam all season. It could be argued that they might have kept their streak of 24 non-losing seasons going with an easier schedule out of district, but it’s also true that the best team they beat this year was Lockhart without Dominique Hardaway at full strength, or Lehman in late quarterback turmoil. They didn’t beat anyone this year with an overall winning record.
The Rebels might be hoping that the University Interscholastic League (UIL) puts them back in Region IV at the next re-alignment. Though the present arrangement gave the Rebels easy entry to the playoffs through District 17-4A, they didn’t come close to winning a playoff game in two years of Region III.
The Rebels had to fight to stay in their game against Huntsville in Georgetown. Before they ran a play, they trailed, 14-0.
Hays couldn’t contain Huntsville quarterback Justin Gilbert, touted by Hays coach Bob Shelton as “maybe the best athlete we’ve ever seen.”
Gilbert ran for 151 yards, including 46 yards for a touchdown five snaps into the game. When the Rebels flubbed the ensuing kickoff, Huntsville took over on the Hays 12. Shaquille Ross ran for a six-yard touchdown two plays later, giving Huntsville a 14-0 lead.
Somehow, the Rebels battled back. The defense held firm for about the next three quarters. The Rebels found some stride offensively in the third quarter, when quarterback Sam Breyfogle threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Wise and Torrance Smith ran for an eight-yard touchdown, bringing the Rebels to within 17-14 at the end of the period.
But Huntsville gave them another hill to climb. Early in the fourth quarter, Huntsville’s Gabriel Franklin intercepted a pass, setting up his offense at the Hays13. Ross ran for the touchdown, quickly upping the Hornets’ lead to 24-14.
Thus, the gates swung open. Huntsville scored three more touchdowns in the final ten minutes of the game, turning a tight contest into a comfortable win.
Huntsville, 8-3, won its first playoff game since 1991 and will play next week against Beaumont Central.
The Rebels totaled 299 offensive yards. Huntsville rushed for 352 yards. Smith led the Hays rushing attack with 58 yards.Email | Print