By Todd Fertig
Hayden weathered the elements and a stubborn Rossville team to improve to 3-0 Friday, going on the road to beat the Bulldawgs 49-23.
The Wildcats rolled over Olpe and Silver Lake in their first two games. Things were more challenging on the wet field at Rossville.
The Bulldawgs pinned Hayden deep in its own territory for most of the first period, claiming a 3-0 lead midway through the quarter.
The Wildcats rallied to mount a 28-10 lead by halftime, but they knew they were in a fight.
“(Rossville) coach (Derick) Hammes always does a great job getting his guys ready each and every week,” Hayden coach Bill Arnold said. “We told our kids all week long that this was going to be the best team we’ve played up to this point and would be the most physical team that we’ve played up to this point. None of it came as a surprise to me. Now some of our kids may have showcased that early on.”
Once Hayden got rolling, the difference in the first half came down to Finn Dunshee’s blazing speed. On consecutive carries in the first half, Dunshee scored on runs of 63 and 68 yards for the Wildcats.
“We ran it to the quick side – that’s where both of my touchdowns came – because they were stacking our strong side,” Dunshee said. “So, I was getting good play calls from my coach and great blocking up front. My plan was just to not think about what’s happening but just get to full speed as quick as I can and find that hole and punch it as hard as I could.”
For the game, Dunshee produced four plays of 27 yards or more, not to mention a 50-yard interception return for touchdown. He accumulated 170 yards on 11 carries and 85 yards on four receptions.
Hayden fullback Broderick Desch powered his way to 72 yards on 14 carries, three of which ended in the end zone.
Playing in rain throughout the contest, the Hayden defense intercepted four Rossville passes, several of which were tipped by Bulldawg receivers. The Wildcats also recovered a Rossville fumble.
“Defense did a good job of taking the ball away,” Arnold said. “Offensively, I felt like we sustained some drives and did some good things. But at the same time, we also did a lot of things we need to improve on.”
“I’m really happy with where we’re at right now,” Dunshee said. “I know our coaches are going to say that they’re really not, and there are definitely aspects we need to clean up. But I’m happy, you know. Our line is doing great. Our skill position players are doing what we need to do. So, I think it’s going to be a good season for us.”
Rossville fell to 1-2, having edged St. Marys and lost a close game to Riley County. The Bulldawgs were led by quarterback Camden Horak, who fired 34 passes to generate offense against Hayden. He passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
The Bulldawgs will face Atchison County next Friday, while Hayden travels to Jefferson West.
“We had some gaps show up tonight, which is good. We will learn from that and get better,” Arnold said. “But overall, I’m happy with the win. I told the guys, ‘Enjoy it tonight, but understand we’re going to coach you guys up and we’ll get better.’ ”
HAYDEN 49, ROSSVILLE 23
Hayden (3-0) 14 14 7 14 -- 49
Rossville (1-2) 3 7 7 6 -- 23
Rossville – Willett 15 FG
Hayden – Dunshee 63 run (Schrickel kick)
Hayden – Dunshee 68 run (Schrickel kick)
Hayden – Desch 12 run (kick failed)
Hayden – Schrickel 32 pass from Wahlmeier (Schrickel pass from Wahlmeier)
Rossville – Johnson 10 pass from C. Horak (Willett kick)
Hayden – Dunshee 50 interception return (Becker kick)
Rossville – C. Bush 58 pass from C. Horak (Willett kick)
Hayden – Desch 1 run (Becker kick)
Rossville –C. Horak 4 run(kick failed)
Hayden – Desch 1 run (Becker kick)
Rushing -- Hayden: Desch 14-72, Dunshee 11-170, Krentz 2-0, Schrickel 1-9, Mitchell 4-21, Wahlmeier 5-50, Ridley 4-5. Rossville: C. Horak 16-14, T. Horak 1-5, C. Bush 1-1, Willett 1-1, Johnson 5-24, Catron 3-(minus)2.
Passing -- Hayden: Wahlmeier 6-12-1 125. Rossville: C. Horak 17-34-4 261.
Receiving -- Hayden: Schrickel 2-40, Dunshee 4-85. Rossville: C. Bush 2-56, T. Horak 7-52, Donovan 5-109, Johnson 2-40, Miller 1-4.
Punting -- Hayden: Wahlmeier 2-28.0. Rossville: B. Bush 2-37.5.