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September 25, 2003     Hays Free Press
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Page 10 The Free Press sports September 25, 2003 Hays defense stiffs Ellison in final tuneup BY BILL PETERSON Editor ILLEEN-Much of the trav- eling party that usually accompanies the Hays High School football team declined last Friday night's joumey to Killeen. Mostly, they were veter- an Texans who knew Killeen wouldn't be worth the trouble to get there. But a certain skepticism about the Hays Rebels fed those choices to some degree, as the Rebels had been unimpressive in a 24-21 loss to Cedar Park a week earlier. No doubt, many of the loyalists remembered last year's home opener at Bob Shelton Stadium, when the Rebels made eight fumbles - two on their way into the end zone - enabling Killeen Ellison to sneak out with a 24-22 win. Perhaps, expectations for the Rebels weren't running very high as of last Friday afternoon. As of late Friday night, those expectations changed a bit. The Rebels played a nice game at Leo Buckley Stadium against Ellison, holding the Eagles to 87 yards in a 17-0 win. Obviously, the night belonged to the Hays defense. But the Rebels looked like a different ball club offensively, with running back Tristan Mayberry returning from a two- game suspension (not among those reported on Page 2) to put a charge into the operation. Mayberry's speed gave the Rebels an additional dimension as he played with high energy, even carrying out his fakes in the second half with theatrical exu- berance. Mayberry finished the night with 118 yards on 17 carries. With Mayberry carrying the offense, Hays scored touch- downs on its first two posses- sions, each concluding with a three-yard scoring run by the restored running back. Beyond the first quarter, though, the game set off few fireworks, so anyone who Red the drive to Killeen and came in a half-hour late missed the good stuff, anyway. Outside a 29-yard field goal by Travis Reynolds midway into the third quarter, the final three quarters of this game were endless exchanges of punts. In a sense, that's pretty good for the Rebels, who knew enter- ing the season they would lean on their experienced defense. After the first two games uncov- ered just a little evidence that the Hays defense could stoke the kind of performance we've seen in the past, the Ellison game confirmed it. "The big difference in this game was our defense," Hays head coach Bob Shelton said. "We didn't give them anything. I think we're getting close to play- ing defense the way we're capa- ble of playing it." If the Rebels are capable of playing defense even better than they played it last Friday, and if Mayberry continues to spark the offense, we might be seeing the start of a pretty good season, which moves into the district phase Friday night with a game against Bowie at Burger Stadium. The reasons for optimsim are partly connected with the Rebels, but largely due to the weak performances turned in by other District 25-5A teams last Friday night. It's beginning to look, for example, like Westlake has- picked out a pretty good year to be down. The Chaparrals lost for the second time this season, 14-13 to Smithson Valley, which once was a Class 4A rival for Hays and has grown into a Top Ten team at the Class 5A level. Westlake now is 1-2 and, under ordinary circumstances, one might expect its 67-game dis- trict winning streak to be in jeopardy. But when you look ound the district, who can beat Westlake? Bowie is winless after a 17-0 loss last Friday to Round Rock McNeil, which entered the game winless. Austin High is 1- 2 after a 49-0 pasting from Leander, which, to be fair, prob- ably is the best team in the Austin area. San Marcos started with a loss and has since rolled up wins of 52-13 against Del Valle and 42-21 against Bastrop. But nei- ther of those opponents is exact- ly a Class 5A powerhouse. Neither is even in Class 5A. As the Rebels and San Marcos are the only District 25- 5A teams to win two games dur- ing the pre-district stretch of schedule, it appears form has Huddling for the Hays football team last Friday night in Killeen are Ryan Kimbro (14), Tristan Mayberry (28), Jayce Johnson (76), Andy Preuss (52), Matt Posey (62), David Jara (56) and Kris Beasley (46). (photo by Susan Sides) held in the first three weeks. While two Westlake losses cer- tainly is, surprising, it's not enough yet to knock the Chaps off the top of the district. But now that the Rebels have turned in a good defensive game and all the players will be back for the start of district competi- tion Friday night, now that we've seen all the other District 25-5A teams struggle, it could be that the game at Killeen Ellison that no one wanted to see is the keynote for a success- ful season. Rebels in early volleyball playoff fight put us in fourth place in the first round (of district play)," he said. The Rebels will play each team twice in discL competi- tion, with the top Ihree teams going to the playoffs. Next Tuesday, the Rebels will play one of their most intense matches of the season when they travel to Westlake to take on the Chaparrals, who are favored to repeat as district champions this season. Pruess said that if the Rebels beat Westlake, they would definitely be in the dri- ver's seat. Last Friday, the Rebels easily defeatedAustin Akins in a match Pmess said was the best he has seen the team play all season. The Rebels swept Akins 25-24, 25-17 and 15-13. Pruess said that quite a few Rebel fans showed up at Friday night's match because fewer peo- ple than .usual made the trip to Killeen for the Hays football game. "This game was a real downer for us last year because of the mis- takes," Shelton said, remembering that the Rebels followed last year's loss to Ellison with an early exit from the playoff picture. This year's Ellison game may have been a downer, too, before kickoff. But now that the final gun has shot, it could prove to be the Rebels' springboard to the playoffs. TUNE IN TO KUOL 1470 AM EVERY WEEK AT 7:00PM LISTEN TO THE LIVE BROADCAST OF HAYS REBELS FOOTBALL GAMES. BROUGHT TO YOU BY TSRN SPORTS & KUOL RADIO Friday Sept. 26 Game: HAYS vs BOWIE GAMES WILL ALSO BE STREAMED LIVE AND ARCHIVED ON TSRNSPORTS.COM BY DANIEL MICHAEL Staff Writer AYS CISD-The Hays High School volleyball team is -fighting to stay in the playoff hunt this week. The Rebels are 17-9 overall and 3-1 in District 25-5A after a Tuesday loss to Austin on their home court Tuesday. "It put us behind the eight ball as far as district is con- cerned," assistant coach Danny Pruess said. "We have our work cut out for us, but we're not giv- ing up." The Rebels lost the fLrSt two games of the match against Austin, 25-19 and 25-15, but came back towin 25-21 and 25- 24 in the third and fourth games. Although the Rebels held onto the lead during most of the last game, the Maroons slipped passed the Rebels to take the match, 17-15. Despite the loss, sophomore Anna Breyfogle had:15 kills, freshman Taylor Deering .had 11 kills and Caitlin Jones had 9 kills. Senior Jordan Elliott once again led the team in assists with 38. Breyfogle also had six blocks, while Elliott had four. Isa Mendoza had three aces and Jones had two aces during the five-game match. Jones also had 16 digs, which Pruess said is the most digs the team has had this year. Although the game was a tough loss for the Rebels, Pruess said the team from Hays is not out of it yet. The Rebels will have a chance to redeem themselves next Friday, when they take on Austin Bowie away from home. 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