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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
September 11, 2013     Hays Free Press
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September 11, 2013

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Page 2B SPORTS Hays Free Press September 11,2013 + + Size not a fa00::tor for Hays running back BY MOSES LEOS III Tmth e illus ,trious Mark Twain once d, Its not the size of the dog e fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." Such a mantra is the lifeblood for numerous football players. What they may lack in height or size, they make up for with the will to win. Hays High running back Dylan Kasper greatly resembles those remarks. Kasper, who stands at 5' 4", understands he does not have the height of the average halfback. It does not stop him from pursuing his passion in football. Yet, setting up behind the quarter- back was not the initial place Kasper began his career. During middle school, Kasper lined up as a wide receiver. However, after entering high school, coaches ushered him into a new spot. They had him lining up as a running back. It was a match from first snap. "My freshman year, my coaches told me to play at running back," Kasper said. "I've been there ever since." The transition was not difficult, according to Kasper, who found the progression of moving from fresh- man to junior varsity to varsity much more difficult. Like all football players, Kasper learned the ins-and-outs of his position. He also took in the natural increase in speed the game entails. It was all a learning experience. Kasper had to work on adjusting his speed and agility. He knew it was criti- cal in offsetting the size and strength of defenders. "[Working on speed] is super crucial, especially not being as tall as other running backs," he said. "You have to be as fast as they are. A run- ning back also needs their agility. You want to go as hard as you can." Eventually, Kasper worked his way up the ranks. Last season, he got his first taste of varsity football. He was allowed to join the team during its playoff run. It was a moment he will not forget. '3 was honored to join the team [during the playoffs]," he said. "It was so much fun. I loved it. I had the chance to show coaches what I got." Now, Kasper has immersed himself into varsity football. He, like many in this senior class, worked under all three head coaches at Hays. "It's hard to possibly give up the sport you have been playing your whole life. You want to play. However, knowing this may be your last year? It's tough." -Dylan Kasper, Hays running back Bob Shelton was head coach when Kasper was a freshman. While he did not work exclusively under the system, many of the freshman coaches har- bored the style of Shekon. Kasper said it was an easy to understand mix of run and pass. The previous two years, Kasper was under former coach Blake Feldt's system. He described it as pass heavy, with complex play verbiage. The bal- ance of run and pass returned with Neal LaHue. While still containing some complexities, Kasper found it easier to grasp. Like all the systems before, Kasper and the seniors have worked to adjust. They currently are focused on getting execution down in the LaHue system. "[Execution] is important," Kasper said. "One play may have you hit this hole; another may have you hit this person. It's really precise. Each player has to get it right." Kasper has set a few goals for this season. The obvious are scoring as many touchdowns and gaining as many yards as he can. Still, he wants to do what he can to help his team. He also wishes to make his senior season memorable. It may be his final chance to suit up in a football uni- form. "It's bittersweet," Kasper said. "It's hard to possibly give up the sport you have been playing your whole life. You want to play. However, knowing this may be your last year? It's tough." PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Hays senior running back Dylan Kasper (24) runs past a defender during the Rebels' in- trasquad scrimmage on Aug. 17. Despite his short stature - 5 feet 4 inches - Kasper has risen through the ranks, making his way to the varsity playing fields. Rebel netters take 3 in a row to start season STAFF REPORT With the return of most of its members from last year, the Hays High Rebel tennis team aced its first three outings in its fall season. The Rebels defeated theW'un- befleyTexans on Thursday at the home courts by a score of 11-8. On Saturday, the team trav- elled to Schertz for a double-du- al match with two district foes in an effort to get a headstart on their quest for a return to the fall post-season tournament. The Rebels defeated Samuel Clemens 11-3 at the day's start. The highlight of the day came with their defeat of the Alamo Heights Mules 10-9. "This match was a great con- fidence booster for our team; ,in the past 30 years since I have been coaching, we have never won more than two to three matches against Heights. This was an awesome result for our program," said Hays head tennis coach Debbie Cook. The Rebels had to win a number of matches against Alamo Heights in third set tie- breakers. "We had great sup- port from our parents and our team really got behind each other to get some of those close matches. We had some great results from our younger players as well; this was a team effort for sure," said Cook. Re- COURTESY PHOTO The 2013 Hays High tennis team includes (front row, left to right) Alli Garcia, Claudia Norman, Sarah Ortiz, Grace Ortiz, Haley Butler, (back row, left to right) Harley Williams, Sabrina Smith, Zack Curry, Sean Farrell, Antonio Sanchez, Dustin Zimmerman, Devin Knedlik, Tyler Gray, Abby Knedlik, Nick Sanchez and Ryan New. turning members of the Hays tonio Sanchez, juniors Haley Curry. High Rebel team include seniors Butler, Ryan New, Sean Farrell, The Rebels will travel to Drip- Grace Ortiz, Abby Knedlik, An- Dustin Zimmerman and Zack ping Springs at 9 a.m. Saturday. Looking Ahead in Football Hays (2-0) vs, Le- mad00 Rouse (1-1) When: Friday, Sept. 13 7:30 p.m. Where: A.C. Bible Stadium (3301 S. Bagdad Road, Leander) Last week: Hays def. Anderson 21-7; Rouse def. Cedar Ridge 55-29 Last meeting: Hays def. Rouse 14-10 Hays offense: Multiple Hays defense: 3-4 Rouse offense: Spread Rouse defense: 3-4 Players to watch Hays: QB Jeff Jordan, QB Hayden Cagle, RB C_ Gandy, RB Dylan Kasper, WR Luke Park, LB Trey Softs, LB Daniel Minor, DB Jared Self, DB Mason Salinas Rouse: QB Billy Ray McCrary, QB Wesley Geisiar, RB Andre Alger, RB Anthony Badour Intangibles: Defense will be the key for the Rebels once again. Last week, they held down Anderson's rushing game to a meager amount. On Friday, they will be tasked with halting a powerful Rouse rush game. Raider RB Andre Alger and Anthony Badour combined for 247 of the 436 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Cedar Ridge. Head coach Neal LaHue said the Rouse offense presents a "huge challenge" for his defense. LaHue was pleased with last week's win, but deemed the offense a "work in progress." He said the team focused more on fundamentals in practice. They will go up against a Rouse defense that has given up 28 ppg and over 300 yards per contest. If they can fix their miscues and limit penalties, they may be able to have a big night. Make no mistake, though, this is going to be a tight contest. LaHue felt this will be an excellent barometer for the team going into district. Expect high drama from both Hays and Rouse. Lehman (0-2) vs. Anderson (0.2) Homecoming When: Friday, Sept. 13 7:30 p.m. Where: Bob Shelton Stadium Last week: Elgin def. Lehman 52-10; Hays def. Anderson 21-7 Last meeting: Lehman def. Anderson 15-14 Lehman offense: Multiple Lehman defense: 4-3 Anderson offense: Spread Anderson defense: 3-4 Players to watch Lehman: QB Jeremy Schilhab, RB Paul Brown, QB/RB Paul Mat- thews, WR/DB Malcolm Turner, WR Kelton Powell, WR/LB Tyler Hyss, LB Conner Baird Anderson: QB Kirby Hill, QB Jo- seph Menke, RB Chris Ortiz, WR Mitchell Tarantolo Intangibles: The last two games have been rough for Lehman. Two weeks ago, the team faced an up- and-coming 5A opponent in Cedar Ridge. Last week, they succumbed to sleeper State contender Elgin. This week, Lehman may be able to rebound against an equally reeling Anderson team. The Lobos have gained strong play from their rush game. Seniors Paul Matthews and Paul Brown have stepped up their efforts. Still, the Lobos will have to work on their passing attack if they wish to find success. Coach Todd Raymond said things have been somewhat simplified on offense to increase tempo. He said the players were thinking too much on the field. On defense, Lehman will have to focus their efforts on RB Chris Ortiz, who has been the catalyst for the Trojan offense. Holding him down will be a critical point of contention. Get the highlights of all of this week's Hays ClSD sports coverage on Sports Roundup with Moses Leos Also, see this week's Athlete of the Week sponsored by Center Field Sports Bar & Grill online at Rebel Bash Continued from pg. 1B we didn't do the little things." Walther said. "They out- played us. But I was proud of the performance our girls gave in those games." Losses to Connally and LaGrange pushed Hays into the Bronze bracket. Hays rebounded to claim the bracket title. The Hays girls began the afternoon session by defeat- ing West in straight sets. It was followed with a domi- nating straight set victory over Bastrop; the second time Hays had swept the Lady Bears in the tourna- merit. Junior Shannon Park was happy the team ended the tournament on a high note. While there is some room for improvement, she was glad the team pulled together to fill the absence of Paradeaux. "We realized we did not have a person to lean on as much," Park said. "There was more conversation and we tried to figure out how we could get the other team out of system. It worked well for US." Park led the team with 68 kills in the tournament. Junior Kathryn Wristen had 199 assists. Hays opens district play against Boerne Champion at home on Friday. The match is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. From the Sidelines Continued from pg. 1B Diaz has earned much of the blame, and deservedly so. His tactics were just not cutting it. And, yes, players make the plays on the field. They are ultimately responsible for what goes on. However, it's up to the coaches to lead them. Diaz never seemed to be able to do that. It showed as he failed to make the proper adjustments. Hill was able to break free, mostly on the same zone-read play. Why Diaz could not figure out how to stop Hill will forever be a mystery. We just know the end result: He didn't. In the end, Diaz's firing was justified. There was no way head coach Mack Brown could have kept him without tremendous scrutiny. However, firing Diaz will not be the cure that ails the Longhorns. Greg Robinson will be tasked with trying to make a talented but flawed defense better in an instant. The coach himself is an equally polarizing figure. Af- ter his first stint in Austin in 2004, Robinson struggled as head coach at Syracuse. He followed that up with a di- sastrous stint as Michigan's defensive coordinator. Robinson has been out of coaching since 2010. He was hired by Texas over the sum- mer as a consultant. Now he takes over the defense. If that doesn't scare Texas fans, I'm not sure what will. So the big question be- comes, "what now?" Where does the defense go from here? Can the offense, which has its own problems, support a wounded group? It's safe to say the program is at a crossroad. Brown is too. To many, this move was a panic-induced way for Brown to avoid getting fired as well. For the first time in a long time, tremendous uncertain- ty rains upon the FortyAcres. If Texas cannot figure it out, Gabriel's horn may blow soon enough. +