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Holton's big second half ends banner Hayden football season, 48-17

By ISAAC DEER

TopSports.news

HOLTON – Hayden's noble 2022 campaign ended in a 48-17 loss to its district rival, Holton, in Friday night's Class 3A sub-state matchup.

Holton, which handed Hayden both of its losses in a 10-2 campaign, spoiled Hayden's hopes of reaching next Saturday's Class 3A state championship game at Hutchinson..

BillArnoldHaydenFBHayden football coach Bill Arnold talks to his team after Friday night's 48-17 Class 3A sub-state loss at Holton. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

FinnDunsheeHoltonJunior Finn Dunshee (33) finds some running room in Hayden's 48-17 Class 3A sub-state loss Friday night at Holton. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

What separated Holton and Hayden in both of Holton's wins was its effectiveness on the ground. Holton capitalized whenever it cued up a speed option to the outside or had any open space.

"Holton is a good team, and they did a good job running the ball," Hayden coach Bill Arnold said. "They made some good adjustments, and we couldn't tackle in the open field very well. We had guys close to position out there on the outside on the option, but you have to be able to make a tackle, and we didn't get that done."

"I'm proud of our kids, I thought they competed hard."

Hayden play an impressive first half, taking a 17-14 lead to the locker room, but was shell-shocked by Holton in the second half.

On the game's first play, Hayden sophomore quarterback Jett Wahlmeier connected with junior Finn Dunshee on a 70-yard pass that went all the way for a Hayden touchdown. Hayden had a ton of momentum only 16 seconds into the game.

After Holton scored immediately after Dunshee's receiving touchdown, Hayden put together a stellar drive resulting in points. It was a 12-play, 55-yard, 8:23 drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Braydn Rose late in the first quarter.

Holton would come back with yet another quick and explosive touchdown tying the game, 14-14, with 1:19 to go in the first quarter.

Hayden's defense did a much better job in the second quarter. Hayden kept an explosive Holton offense off the scoreboard. All hats were on the ball, with excellent pursuit play from Hayden's defensive unit.

Hayden's ability to put together long drives, throw the ball effectively and run the ball consistently in the first half played a big part in its 3-point lead.

However, the second half would become a living nightmare for Hayden.

Holton's two first-half touchdowns resulted from big plays, and Holton repeated that success in the second half with a 34-0 shutout. 

"I thought we did a good job reading our keys (in the first half)," Arnold said. "I don't think we read our keys very well in the second half."

Although Hayden didn't end its season the way it wanted, Arnold and crew were pleased with how the season played out overall. Over the last four years, Hayden has had a 35-8 record. The group of seniors departing this year left its mark on Hayden's historic program.

"It's a great group of guys," Arnold said. "You got the big three that have been playing (varsity) since they were sophomores, Ben (Evans), Joe (Otting), and JC (Cummings). I thought they did a great job leading, and you throw in 13-14 guys (in this) senior group, and I thought they did a great job as far as the workouts going in the offseason."

"We had a plan."

HOLTON 48, HAYDEN 17

Hayden (10-2) 14 3 0 0 – 17 

Holton (11-1)   14 0 20 14 – 48

Hayden – Dunshee 70 pass from Wahlmeier (Schrickel kick)

Holton – Lierz 23 run (Lierz kick)

Hayden – Rose 1 run (Schrickel kick)

Holton – Fletcher 46 run (Lierz kick)

Hayden – Schrickel 31 FG

Holton – Fletcher 41 pass from Lierz (Lierz kick)

Holton – Lierz 3 run (Lierz kick)

Holton – Fletcher 33 pass from Lierz (Kick failed)

Holton – Boswell 1 run (Lierz kick)

Holton – Washington 10 run (Lierz kick)

Individual statistics

Rushing -- Hayden: Dunshee 19-103, Rose 7-19, Wahlmeier 5-23, Cummings 2-12, Schrickel 1-4. Holton: Booth 15-127, Fletcher 13-129, Lierz 8-37, Boswell 3-2, Washington 1-10. 

Passing -- Hayden: Wahlmeier, 9-21, 134 yards. Holton: Lierz, 2-2, 74. 

Receiving -- Holton: Fletcher 2-74. Hayden: Schrickel 4-27, Dunshee 2-76, McGibboney 2-17, Cummings 1-14.