Rivalry game on tap for Hays High

By Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

Jaren Kanak wanted to share the spotlight.

Hays High senior quarterback Jaren Kanak finds running room in Friday’s season opener against Wichita East at Lewis Field Stadium.

Kanak, a Clemson commit, had already led the Hays High football team to a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to take a 21-0 lead over Wichita East in last Friday’s season opener. When the Indians took over the ball on their own 2-yard line, Kanak -- a senior in his first year as the starting quarterback -- had an idea.

Kanak owned the school record for longest touchdown reception at 97 yards. He wanted senior teammate Jordan Dale to break his record.

“Before that play Jaren walks by me and says, ‘Hey, coach, let’s throw this out to Jordan and see if he can break my receiving record, ” said HHS coach Tony Crough. “I thought it was super cool. That’s just the character of who he is. He’s a team-first guy.”

Kanak faded back to pass, Dale made an adjustment on the route, and the ball settled into the wide receiver’s hands. He was off to the races down the Hays High sideline all the way into the end zone and the record book.

“He’s only been throwing the ball for three weeks,” Crough said of Kanak, a wide receiver last year. “That pass he made, it was supposed to be a post route toward the middle of the field. He saw that the middle of the field was closed, so he threw it to the outside, which was extremely impressive.”

Crough also was happy for Dale, who shared time at QB last season.

“I really liked that Jordan got that love there,” Crough said. “Jordan could have been hanging his head because he’s not playing quarterback. Instead, he’s making plays at receiver.”

Kanak finished the night rushing for 240 yards and three scores and throwing for 169 yards and the TD to Dale. He scored from 58 yards out on the third play of the game to give the Indians the early lead. Hays High went on to take a 35-6 victory.

“He’s going to do that,” Crough said. “He’s just so physical and strong. He’s going to make plays like that. That’s why we snap it to No. 7.”

Hays High returns to action Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff against Western Athletic Conference rival Great Bend at Lewis Field Stadium.

“It’s rivalry week,” Crough said. “We’re excited to get ready for that. It’ll be fun. Our kids will be ready to go.”