BY CAYDEN SANDERS
Hays High opened their season with a quick win over the Wichita East Blue Aces, and in their second game of the season against Great Bend, the Indians showed a more powerful display to their fans scoring two plays into the game en-route to a 51-0 victory.
Indians senior running back Roy Maroni ran the ball up the middle and bounced to the outside to score on a 25-yard run. On the Indians’ next possession sophomore running back Malik Bah ran a 1-yard touchdown to make it 14-0. Jaren Kanak connected with his wide receivers Jordan Dale and Kyrese Groen in the following two drives making the score 28-0.
“Roy [Maroni] being my running back is giving teams problems, you have a running back who just doesn’t want to give up on the run, and the way we run our offense is basically a triple option. Just having three different types of runners to worry about really shows in games like tonight,” Kanak said.
Hays kept the pace, finishing a flawless half scoring in all seven drives. Maroni had another touch for a touchdown from 23 yards out. Great Bend had terrible luck being forced to punt deep in their endzone and had a bad snap go out of the endzone adding a safety to the Indians’ points in the half.
Kanak hit senior wide receiver Carson Kieffer for a 20-yard touchdown. The following drive for the Indians, Kanak plowed his way through the Great Bend defense running 79 yards to the house.
“Our goal as an offense is to keep applying the pressure and keep scoring every drive we get and it just really showed tonight,” Kanak said.
At halftime, the Panthers and Indians both agreed to a continuous running clock with an entire half to go. HHS Head Coach Tony Crough also put his second and third-string players into the game, giving them plenty of time to learn against varsity competition. With those players in, Defensive Coordinator Layton Hickel still achieved his first coaching shutout, and limited the Panthers varsity offense to minimal gains.
“We are a lot smarter now, now that we are snapping the ball to one of the best players in the midwest in Kanak. It just helps when you can snap the ball to a player like Jaren, everyone has to keep an eye on him,” Crough said. “With Roy [Maroni] in the running back position, and having Bah in as well you have a three-headed monster coming at you.”
The Great Bend Panthers did get close to the red zone at the end of the game but never got in. The Panthers travel to McPerson to take on the Bullpups with a 0-2 record on the year. Indians improve to 2-0 on the year and look to repeat the WAC title journey they claimed just one year ago. HHS will take a long bus ride all the way down to Liberal to take on the 1-1 Redskins next week.