The Hays High Indians bent but never broke in a 39-12 win lin Liberal on Friday night. On Liberal’s first drive the Redskins kicked a 40+ yard field goal only to receive a first down on a roughing the kicker call. Taking the points off the board Liberal drove inside the ten and then Hays High’s Zach Binder ripped the ball away from quarterback Britton Abbott for what would be the first of three fumbles lost by the sophomore.
On the ensuing possession, Hays drove 93 yards in 13 plays eating up 6:30 off the clock to take 6-0 lead on a botched extra point snap. Hays forced three consecutive punts from the Redskins but mounted only a 14 point lead, both scores coming from David Cardinal. Liberal again would get the ball inside the ten yard line right before half but lose the ball again on a fumble.
Thunderstorms had threatened all night and with rain already falling the lightning came and delayed the game for an hour.
As the second half finally resumed, Hays High scored on their first two possession taking a 26-0 lead on a Mark Mathis touchdown and another Cardinal strike. That is when the Liberal offense found signs of life. Liberal missed on a field goal on their first drive of the second half and then later scored on a 1/2 yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Britton Abbott and after a successful onside kick, scored on a 45 yard touchdown pass from Abbott to Trenton Hammond, cutting the lead down to 26-12.
Liberal tried another onside kick recovered this time by the Indians and Cardinal finished his night with a fourth rushing touchdown. Hays did tack on a final score on a 26 yard touchdown pass from Austin Unrein to Jake Sedbrook marking the final score at 39-12.
Unofficially David Cardinal ran 22 times for 159 yards and four touchdowns. Mark Mathis ran 12 times for 104 yards and one score. Hays racked up 444 yards on the ground and another 56 yards on 3 of 7 passing by Unrein. Liberal was limited to 252 yards of offense and turned the ball over three times. Hays turned the ball over just once on the on-side kick fumble. Hays was penalized 9 times for 97 yards and kicked the ball out of bounds twice more. Liberal had one penalty for ten yards.
Hays is 3-0 for the third time under coach Ryan Cornelson and beat Liberal a third time in a row for the first time in school history. Hays is home next week versus (1-2) Garden City for homecoming. Liberal drops to 1-2 on the season.