After a week of non-region play, the Hayden Wildcats played host to Class 5A Region 6 foe Springville and rolled up more than 500 rushing yards in a 39-29 victory.
On the second play of the game, junior fullback Levi Snider raced 54 yards but a Tiger defender poked the ball loose and it went through the endzone for a touchback.
The Wildcat defense forced a Tiger punt on Springville’s first possession and senior running back Colton Shirley opened the scoring on a 36-yard run. Patrick Ward added the point-after to put Hayden up 7-0 with 8:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Springville answered as Jordan Byrd ran in from 2 yards to tie the game at 7 after Tanner Jack’s PAT.
After forcing a Hayden punt, the Tigers went ahead on a 10-yard pass from Hunter Richardson to Trey Caldwell. Jack’s point-after gave Springville a 14-7 lead with 1:35 left in the first quarter.
Hayden’s first turnover of the night came on the ensuing kickoff but the Wildcat defense forced a turnover when senior Houston Howard intercepted a Tiger pass, his first of two. Snider then took it to the house on a 60-yard run, his first of three scores on the night. Ward’s PAT tied the game at 14 with 10:52 remaining in the half. Neither team would score the remainder of the first half and the teams went to the locker room tied at 14.
The Wildcats scored on 4 of 6 possessions in the second half. On their first possession senior Leonard Johnson, a Duke commit, ran in from 29 yards out. After a personal foul, Ward’s 35-yard, point-after failed, but the Wildcats had a 20-14 lead with 8:46 remaining in the third.
Springville came back with a touchdown to take the lead as Richardson hit Byrd for 12 yards and a score. Jacks added the point-after to put the Tigers up 21-20 with 2:36 left in the third.
In a back-and-forth second half, the Wildcats scored on an 8-yard run by Snider. The pass attempt for two failed but Hayden had a 26-21 with 10:42 remaining.
Springville took the lead on their next possession on a 58 yard pass from Richardson to Byrd. Caldwell’s run for two gave the Tigers a 29-26 lead with 10:18 to go.
Hayden took the lead on the next possession when Snider scored on a 1-yard run. Ward’s point-after put the Wildcats up 33-29 with 7:40 remaining.
Hayden’s Howard intercepted his second pass of the night but the Wildcats returned the favor on a fumble with 5:25 in the game.
The Hayden defense held and Johnson raced 77 yards for a score, his second of the night. Ward’s point-after put Hayden up 39-29.
The Hayden offense rolled up 540 total yards, including 519 yards on the ground. Johnson had a huge night with 272 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Snider added 163 yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns and Shirley had 90 yards and a score on nine carries.
Snider led the defense with six tackles, including one for loss, Austin Turner had five tackles, one for loss, Jacob Sawyer and Jared White had five tackles. Howard had a big night with two tackles, two interceptions and a pass break-up while Johnson added three tackles and an interception.
The win improves Hayden to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in 5A Region 6. The Wildcats play at Corner in another Class 5A Region 6 game. The Yellow Jackets are 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the region. Be sure to listen to the Wildcats Den from Phil’s Grill Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Wildcats Network on www.wcrlradio.com. You can also listen to the game Friday on the Wildcats Network.