Hays would trail after one quarter 2-0 after David Cardinal was sacked for a safety. The Indians kept Salina Central from taking a two possession lead thanks to a Derek Bixenman interception allowing Hays to finally pull to the lead in the second quarter with a David Cardinal one yard touchdown run capping off a 10 play, 80 yard, 4:22 drive. Hays failed to convert on the two point conversion leaving the score at 6-2.
Hays took a 12-2 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the first half on a Alex Delton seven yard touchdown over the right side capping off a 78 yard, 4:15 drive. Hays again came up short on the two point conversion and led 12-2 at half time.
Each team failed to score in the third quarter and then the fourth quarter got just plain wacky.
Central looked to be getting back into the game driving to the Hays 14 yard line, but an offensive pass interference call and a ten yard sack set up 3rd and 34 for the Mustangs who threw an incomplete pass and then on fourth down threw a pass for only 19 of the needed 34 yards.
Hays took off after the defensive stop driving down to the three yard line, but lost their third fumble of the game at the half yard line. Central advanced the ball only to the nine yard line before turning the ball over on downs again. The Indians couldn’t punch the ball in though and after losing eight yards on the drive but Lane Clark booted a 33 yard field goal for a 15-2 lead.
Central put their only touchdown on the board with :19 left on a 35 yard run by quarterback Mark Vaughn moving the score to 15-9.
Central would have three opportunities on the ensuing onside kick. On the first attempt the Mustangs were called for an offsides penalty. The following kick Central was flagged for delay of game. Finally on the third the ball went 9 and 3/4 yards before being touched by a Mustang allowing Hays High to take over and taking one knee for the 15-9 victory.
Hays moves to 7-2 overall, Salina Central drops to 3-6.
For Hays High, the Indians move on to the 5A state playoffs for a second consecutive year. Hays will play at Bishop Carroll on Friday.
Rest of the 5A bracket can be found at: http://www.kshsaa.org/Public/Football/PDF/Brackets/5A.htm