Football team wins to get in
Eagles use passing game to beat Hayes Center.
HAYES CENTER—Sometimes a winning record isn’t enough to guarantee a spot in the state football playoffs.
Brady coach Bob Frederickson told his players they would have to hand Hayes Center their second loss of the season to punch a ticket to the playoffs.
The Eagles rose to the challenge by more than doubling their average passing yards and stifling the Cardinal offense.
“They took away our inside running game,” Frederickson said of Hayes Center’s defense. “They put eight guys on the line to stop the run so we threw the ball more than we ever have and it worked.”
Junior quarterback Zach Mann completed 8-of-19 attempts for 146 yards and Sawyer Burke added 2-of-2 for 24 yards to lead the Eagles to a 52-16 win over the Cardinals.
“I told Zach to grip it and rip it,” Frederickson said. “He did a great job of throwing the ball.”
Four of Brady’s eight touchdowns came on passing plays, all four to different receivers.
“We had so many kids contribute,” the coach said. “That’s what makes our team as good as it is. We don’t just have one threat, we have several.”
Brady set the tone for the game by scoring on the first play and the Eagles never let up.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Frederickson said. “I think that’s the best we’ve played all year.”
The Cardinals scored only once until their last possession of the game but Brady trumped the touchdown with a kickoff return by freshman Jon Taullie with four seconds left on the clock.
In addition to his passing yards, Mann finished with 75 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns.
Lincoln Blede, Tyrel Grasz and Ryan Porter each had double-digit tackles. Blede led the way with 19 while Grasz had 14 and Porter added 11.
“We’ve pushed teamwork and confidence all year, and we got a lot of both at Hayes Center,” the coach said. “We’ve also talked about a signature win. We got it in week eight.”
With the victory the Eagles make the Class D-2 playoffs for the third consecutive year.
With a 6-2 record, Brady enters the western playoff bracket in the No. 11 position and will travel to Sumner-Eddyville-Miller for the first round on Thursday.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge but I think it’s a great draw,” Frederickson said. “The key will be to contain their speed with our defense and keep doing what we’ve been doing moving the ball on offense. They like to throw the ball but I think our linemen will put enough pressure on their quarterback that it won’t be too successful.”
SEM is also 6-2 on the season and comes into the playoffs with the No. 6 seed.
The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. in Sumner.