By Moses Leos III
It took one half for the Boerne Champion Charger offense to overwhelm the Hays Rebels Friday at Boerne ISD Stadium in Boerne.
Champion’s 482 total yards, 304 gained in the first half, sunk the Rebels in a 44-27 season opening loss.
“We showed our inexperience tonight. We have to look at our conditioning,” Hays High head coach Neal LaHue said. “Credit goes to them and their coaches. We got out coached and out played tonight.”
Hays and Champion traded scores through the first 15-plus minutes of the game. But Champion tallied 16 unanswered points, two on a savfety during a Rebel punt return, that gave them a 23-7 second quarter lead.
Stopping Charger quarterback Josh Green and wide receiver Dillon Manz was a challenge for Hays in the first half. The duo combined for 96 yards through the air and a trio of touchdowns, all in the first half.
Putting pressure on Green was a challenge, according to Hays senior linebacker Emory Cuzze. Green’s mobility allowed him to move the pocket and escape danger.
That ability led the Chargers to extend drives, converting 8 of 13 third down opportunities, tiring the defense.
“We had a lot of third downs where we should have stopped them and we couldn’t do it,” Cuzze said. “They only had three punts in the whole game. It killed us. We had a lot of chances [to get off the field].”
Miscues and mental errors also cost the Rebels. Hays amassed nine penalties for 60 yards on the night. But it was two special teams miscues, one in each half, that directly led to nine points for Champion on the evening.
The Rebel offense also had issues on its end. Struggles creating forward momentum caused the run game to idle in the first half. Hays senior offensive lineman Connor Lanfear said execution and some inexperience led to issues.
“We didn’t come out to play like we should have,” he said. “We kind of beat ourselves.”
Despite the struggle, Hays’ offense showed its resilience. A four yard touchdown run by Rebel quarterback Braeden Kent cut Champion’s lead to 23-13 right before halftime.
Hays fought back midway through the third after a 59-yard touchdown run from Charger running back Travis Pospisil. A 72-yard strike from Kent to wide receiver Brandon Hunter kept the Rebels within ten.
“I saw him open. But it wasn’t a good throw because he was so wide open,” Kent said. “But Brandon being Brandon, he adjusted to the ball and made the play.”
But ten points was the closest Hays got to Champion. Pospisil took over, powering for a second touchdown in the half. Green tacked on a fourth quarter passing touchdown, putting the game out of reach.
Fixing the miscues will be the Rebels’ focus, as will improving endurance. It will be crucial as Hays hosts highly touted Georgetown at Shelton Stadium this Friday.
“You learn a lot from losses just as you do from wins,” LaHue said. “Sometimes you learn more from a loss. That’s the way I’m going to take it.”