The Hays Indians scored three times on their first seven plays and the Dodge City Red Demons weren't able to catch up in a 52-31 Western Athletic Conference setback at Lewis Field.
The Demons battled back from a 31-point halftime, but never could find an answer of stopping Hays before intermission.
The Indians scored on all six offensive possessions of the game to lead 38-7 by halftime. Hays had 289 yards of total offense in the first quarter — 228 yards on three scoring plays — as the Indians took advantage of injuries suffered in earlier games by the Red Demons.
Quarterback Kelan Newton led the Red Demons in offense, completing 24 of his 50 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, while Blaik Middleton scored a rushing and a receiving touchdown. Jordan Doan (94 yards) and Dakota Duckett (92 yards) also caught touchdown passes from Newton.
Hays quarterback Alex Delton finished with 211 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Ryan Cardinal ran for 221 yards and Preston Weigel ran for 189 yards in the win.
The Indians didn't allow Newton to complete a pass in five attempts on the Demons' opening drive and Hays then used only two plays to take a 7-0 on a 72-yard run by Weigel.
Hays needed only two plays again to make the score 14-0 with Ryan Cardinal running through the Demons defense for a 82-yard touchdown run with 7:20 left in the opening quarter.
Dodge City got on the scoreboard on its next offensive drive. The Demons converted two fourth down into first downs — one on a pass from Newton to Taylor Murphy and the second on a Hays penalty – and Blaik
Middleton completed the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 14-7. Newton completed six of his nine passes on the scoring drive.
The Indians third score of the stanza came when Delton found Adam Deterding behind the Demons' secondary on a 74-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-7 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in
the opening quarter.
Hays pushed down the field in their final drive of the stanza and moved it deep into Dodge City territory by the end of the period and scored on a field goal by Lane Clark early in the second quarter to
make it 24-7.
The Indians continued to get the breaks just when it looked as if the Demons were finally going to stop the host team from scoring. Delton's pass was deflected by a DCHS defender and grabbed by Emilio Mitchell
for a 46-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-7 with 7:11 before intermission.
Hays scored again late in the first half as Delton found Deterding for a 15-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes left before halftime. The Indians was able to convert two fourth-down plays to
Page 2 of 2 - keep the scoring drive going.
Delton finished 10-of-11 for 203 yards passing in the first half, while the Indians' also gained 255 yards in the ground game (Cardinal with 109 and Weigel 103) in the first 24 minutes.
Dodge City was 0-for-10 on third down plays before intermission and the Demons gained only 103 total yards against the Hays defense.
The Demons came out and forced a fumble and sack in the opening drive of the second half, then drove 58 yards that finished with a 11-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Duckett to cut the margin to 38-14. Hays
answered back on its next drive with Cardinal scoring his second rushing touchdown on a short run to make the margin back to 31.
Dodge City scored again on its second drive of the third quarter with Newton hooking up with Middleton for a 50-yard touchdown pass to make the score 45-21 with 4:02 remaining in the stanza. The Demons then
made the Indians pay for a fumble at the Hays 30 with a 23-yard field goal by Dillon Burkhart before the end of the stanza; although it could have been more after the Indian defense kept the Demons out of
the end zone (three plays inside the Hays 2).
Delton and Deterding hooked up together for another scoring pass -- this time an 8-yard pass -- to make the score 52-24 with 9:17 remaining in regulation.
Newton closed out the scoring in the game, throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass to Doan with 3:14 left in regulation.
The Demons open up district play next Friday at home against the Hutchinson Salthawks. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.