The Hays High football team used a dominant second half to capture one of the biggest wins in program history, taking a 31-6 victory against Goddard-Eisenhower on Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs in Goddard.
The Indians led 7-6 at halftime before outscoring the Tigers 24-0 in the second half.
It was Hays High's third playoff win in school history and first since 1993.
"It's one of those games that programs are built on," Hays High coach Tony Crough told the Hays Daily News on Saturday. "We needed one like that. Last year we had an opportunity and we didn't come out ahead. This year our schedule was kind of going the same way in wins and losses. We needed to win a big one, a playoff game. That was huge."
Hayden Brown rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns. The Indians forced five turnovers, including interceptions by Trey Adams, Dawson VonFeldt and Dalton Dale.
No. 7-seeded Hays High (4-5) will play at undefeated Maize South next Friday. The No. 2-seeded Mavericks rolled to a 31-0 win over Salina South on Friday.
The Indians outgained Eisenhower 236-115, putting up 208 yards on the ground.
"Our defense was just awesome over and over again," Crough said. "We got a bunch of stops and five turnovers. Second half we found some success running the football."
Crough said Hays High's defensive front has been a strength for the Indians all season.
"Our defensive front has just been great," Crough said. "You know, we're not very big. Gavin Nutting's sitting in there about 250 pounds, but other than that we're just a bunch of tough, wiry guys. Gaven Haselhorst has to be one of the most electric and physical and play-making defensive linemen in the state. And on the other side, you've got Trey Adams, who's long and athletic and steady and continues to make great plays. And when you turn everything right in to Gavin Meyers, who's an absolute monster back there, it makes it pretty tough to move the ball."
Jaren Kanak scored the Indians' first touchdown on a 53-yard run in the first quarter. Eisenhower got on the board with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Lowry from Chance Omli, but the Indians blocked the extra point to keep the lead.
Matt Goodale knocked in a 42-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-6 early in the third quarter and Brown scored on a 6-yard run to make it 17-6.
Brown scored again on a 24-yard run and the Indians capped things off with a touchdown off a fake field goal with Adams catching a 10-yard TD pass from Tucker Veach.
Crough said Adams made several key plays throughout the game.
"Trey was awesome," Crough said. "Trey had a great game. He's so long and athletic at defensive end, you can't move him, you can't reach him. If you down block he comes down and makes the play. He's hard to get around."
Crough said he was thrilled for Hays High's senior class to experience a playoff win.
"To make history with this group of seniors is just fantastic," Crough said. "This group has been counted out. They haven't won much. They got beat up in middle school. They got beat up as freshman and on the JV. They haven't had much success. For everyone to tell them that they couldn't do it and turn their backs on them, it's pretty awesome for them to be able to get this win."