The Dodge City Red Demons got busy in a hurry against Hays on Friday night.
On the first play from scrimmage after the opening kickoff, Beau Foster intercepted a pass and returned it to the 45-yard line. It took the Demons just four plays for Foster to run in for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with just 1:16 gone in the first quarter.
The Demons offense and defense went to work and took a 40-21 victory over the Hays Indians.
The Demons were just getting started in the first quarter and scored another touchdown with 7:56 left in the first.
Hays answered with a touchdown of their own at 4:19 but the Demons came back just 39 seconds later with another touchdown for a 20-7 lead at the end of the first quarter after a missed PAT.
In the second quarter, both team defenses stiffened and neither was able to get into the end zone for a 20-7 score at half.
In the third quarter Hays scored a TD at 9:12 making the score 20-14. Then Dodge's Alden Knedler ran 14 yards and answered with a touchdown at 7:46.
Late in the third, the Demon defense stripped the ball and returned it to the 2. It took just two plays for Foster to run it in for a 33-14 lead with just 45.2 seconds left in the third.
But on the ensuing kickoff, the Indians ran the ball 97 yards for a touchdown making the score 33-21 with just 29.4 seconds on the clock in the third and a score of 33-21 going into the fourth.
In the fourth, the Demon offense kept the ball for 6 minutes and 29 seconds and capped it off with a touchdown for a 40-21 score that held to the end of the game thanks to a strong Demon defense that held Hays to just two possessions in the fourth quarter.
Getting a turnover on the first play and scoring a touchdown off that was a big boost for the team, said coach Dave Foster.
The offense and defense were both having good games. The Demons were committed to stopping the Hays run game and they only had one touchdown on the ground.
The Dodge inside and outside linebackers played very well.
"All in all, I thought we played well. The defense played phenomenally. Nine times, our defense forced a three and out," Foster said.
A couple of plays that didn't go the Demons' way were a touchdown that was called back because of a penalty and the kick return for a touchdown that made the game close.
But Dodge was able to answer each challenge, and putting points on the scoreboard is big because it gives separation and allows more play options if it's a three touchdown lead, Foster said.
The Dodge defense has strong and held the Indians to only 1 of 10 third downs and 0-4 on fourth downs plus causing three turnovers. Hays only had 3-17 passing attempts for 51 yards.
"That speaks good for our defensive coverage. Hays had two big offensive plays but outside that, our defense dominated the evening," Foster said.
The Demon offense had a good mix of pass and run and their ability to run the ball opened up the pass.
"The momentum of our offensive and defensive lines are a critical to our success," Foster said. "We continue to get solid play from our offensive line."
Up next for the Demons is the Hatchet Game with Garden City. In 2018, USA Today named this game the top rivalry in Kansas.
The hatchet has been at Dodge for a year, but now the case will be emptied and the hatchet taken to the game for presentation to the winner.
Like other big rivalry games, the records don't matter. The two teams are emotionally vested in the game and the team with the best record has not won this game every time.
For this game, Dodge will have to dominate the turnover margin like it has for the past three weeks. It's critical the Demons create turnovers and not give any up, Foster said.
They have to overcome the Garden City defense that could be the best the Demons face this year.
"It will take our best effort to beat Garden City," Foster said. "We've won four and lost five. It's time to even it up."
One Dodge player, John Johnson, will not be on the field. He suffered a broken collarbone in the Hays game and is out for the season.
In the Hays game, the Demons ran 78 plays for 440 total yards, 185 passing and 255 rushing. They had one turnover and five penalties 63 yards. One penalty nullified a touchdown. Foster was 15-25 in passing for 185 yards while he had 154 rushing along with Alden Knedler with 93 yards and Cedric Rosales for 12.
Matt Friess lead all receivers with 5-140 and one touchdown, Rosales 15 yards, D'andre Vontress 14 yards, De Jon Delgado 13 yards and John Johnson 11 yards. Rosales and Tommy Bermudez led the defense with four tackles each.
Jose Valverde was had five PATS and 7 kickoffs for 206 yards while Vontress had 5 kickoffs for 261 yards. Each had two touch backs. Josh Harshberger had 6 punts with an average of 34 yards.
Dodge City is now 6-0 for the first time since 2010.
To contact the writer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.