By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – A young Hays Rebels football team demonstrated great virtues and debilitating vices last Friday night in a 34-27 loss at Bastrop to open the 2008 season.
You can guess what Hays Head Coach Bob Shelton wants to see Friday night, when the Rebels play their home opener against Anderson. Stay true to the virtues, and ditch the vices.
“The thing that probably hurt us the most was consistency,” Shelton said. “At times, I thought we played really well. We had 516 yards on offense. But late in the game, when we really needed to move the football, we couldn’t do it.”
The Rebels held a 27-13 lead with little more than five minutes left in the game. But Bastrop then drove for a touchdown, Hays made a special teams mistake to pin itself near its own goal line, then Hays punted and Bastrop scored the tying touchdown on a short field to force overtime.
The Rebels unveiled promising offensive weapons. Sophomore running back Torrance Smith carried 13 times for 140 yards, including touchdown runs of 46 and 49 yards. Quarterback Trey Berry rushed 15 times for 150 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown. Berry also completed seven of 13 passes for 99 yards.
But the Rebels also made numerous compelling mistakes, including four turnovers inside the Bastrop 30 and nine penalties for 75 yards. Thus, the Rebels face a pretty clear mission against Anderson, a 43-42 overtime loser to McCallum last Friday. If they can take the mistakes out of their game, the can certainly produce enough offensively to win.
“I expect us to play better in the next game,” Shelton said. “You never know what you’re going get in the first game and we had too many critical penalties and mistakes.”
Anderson lost to McCallum last week, 43-42 in a back-and-forth game that went to overtime. The Trojans run mostly out of a Wing-T, though they sometimes spread the field.
P.J. Henderson rushed for 140 yards last week for Anderson, while sophomore quarterback Sam Wehmeyer completed seven of 11 passes for 164 yards and a 52-yard touchdown to Andre Wheeler.
Among the tasks for the Hays defense is the requirement to handle many different styles of offense, which really doesn’t make Hays much different than anyone else playing high school football. After last week against Bastrop, which is installing a no-huddle spread, the Rebels will see a much different look against Anderson.
Offensively, though, the Rebels appear to need just a bit of tightening after last week’s productive performance.
“It’s just one game,” Shelton said. “We’ll learn more as we go along, but I think we have a lot of potential to have a good offense, just like we have a lot of potential to have a good defense.”
More directly, the Rebels must find a way to win, if only to regain some of their mystique at Bob Shelton Stadium. The Rebels have lost four of their last seven games on their home field, going 3-2 their last year and taking tough home losses at the end of 2006 against Schertz Clemens and New Braunfels Canyon.
The Rebels are attempting to avoid their first 0-2 start since 1999, when losses of 17-7 to LBJ and 21-6 to Round Rock McNeil launched grumblings that the game had passed Shelton by.
Those grumblings were slightly premature. The Rebels went on three rounds deep in the playoffs that year. And, since that 0-2 start in 1999, Hays is 70-32 with a 7-6 record in the playoffs.Email | Print