BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend quarterback Joseph Moeder showed the poise of a veteran, directing the Panthers' offense in a 43-14 loss to Hays High.
But Moeder's biggest play was an interception that swung momentum before halftime. The Hays Indians led 22-0 and were ready to run the Panthers out of Memorial Stadium. At that point, Great Bend had been outscored 78-0 in six quarters.
Moeder intercepted a pass tipped by teammate Gavin Haberman. Moeder returned the football to the 33-yard line and 15 yards were added on a penalty. The Panthers responded with two quick touchdowns.
"Getting the momentum back was a big factor," Moeder said. "That set the tone for the second quarter."
Panther sparkplug Paco Hernandez delivered a perfect pass to Lakyn Webb for a 42-yard reception after receiving a lateral from Moeder. Hernandez caught a clutch 10-yard touchdown pass from Moeder for a 22-7 score after Angel Razo's extra point.
Hays' Jordan Dale fumbled on back-to-back plays on the Indians' next drive. Moeder rolled right and spun a perfect pass to a wide open Brad Beck, who raced 34 yards for a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half for a 22-14 score.
Hays discovered their backup quarterback is a game-breaker. Jordan Dale scored four touchdowns and rushed for 219 yards to spark the Indians past Great Bend 43-14 in Friday's Western Athletic football game. Starting QB Dylan Dreiling was sidelined with an injury.
Dale scored on runs of 26, 40, 47 and 60 yards on four quarterback counter plays. After halftime, Dale scored on a 61-yard run and completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Carson Kieffer. Dale capped his night on a 40-yard touchdown run.
"We were prepared. Defending the quarterback counter shouldn't be that hard," said Great Bend coach Erin Beck. "We made too many mistakes. They gashed us and made us pay."
Beck liked the way the Panthers battled and made the Indians work.
"Our guys responded. Our guys didn't back down and showed fight," Beck said. "They do that and in life and they'll be great men some day. We did a lot of good things offensively. We learned a lot about No. 12 (Moeder). He showed he's a football player."
Moeder threw for 148 yards as the Panthers gained 259 yards, a vast improvement from a 56-0 loss to Maize South.
"My offensive line did their job tonight," Moeder said. "They did an awesome job against Gavin Myers and Gavin Haselhorst and their whole defensive line. We improved a whole bunch and I'm proud of my team. We completed passes, gained yards and first downs. We moved the football and scored touchdowns."
The Indians roared to a 22-0 lead. Jaren Kanak raced 43 yards on Hays' first offensive play. Dale scored on a 26-yard touchdown on the Indians' fifth play. Dale raced 47 yards on the Indians' third drive.
The Panthers (0-2) journey to 4A state-ranked McPherson (2-0) next week.
"We knew it'd be a grind," Beck said. "We're building for the close of the season."
Hays defensive tackle Gavin Haselhorst, linebacker Gavin Myers and receiver Jaren Kanak have scholarship offers from Kansas State. Nebraska tops Myers' list.
INDIANS 43, PANTHERS 14
Hays High 22 0 7 14 –43
Great Bend 0 14 0 0 – 14
H–Jaren Kanak 43 run (Dalyn Schwarz pass from Jordan Dale)–10:25
H–Jordan Dale 26 run (Jackson Fields kick)–7:35
H–Dale 47 run (Fields kick)–4:39
GB–Paco Hernandez 10 pass from Joseph Moeder (Angel Razo kick)–7:35
GB–Brad Beck 34 pass from Joseph Moeder (Angel Razo kick)–0:23
H–Dale 61 run (Fields kick)–11:37
H–Carson Kieffer 65 pass from Dale (Fields kick)–10:33
H–Dale 40 run (Fields kick)–2:43
RUSHING–36-389; H–Dale 13-219; Roy Moroni 20-117; Kanak 1-43; Connor Dreiling 1-12; team 1-(-2); GB–33-69; Joseph Moeder 11-51; Jade Poe 13-20; Gavin Haberman 8-3; team 1-(-5)
PASSING–H–Dale 1-2-1, 65; GB–Joseph Moeder 17-32-1, 148; Hernandez 1-1-0, 42.
RECEIVING–H–Kieffer 1-65; GB–Paco Hernandez 10-64; Beck 4-63; Lakyn Webb 2-50; Poe 2-13.
INTERCEPTIONS–H–Brett Orth; GB–Joseph Moeder; FUMBLE RECOVERED–H–William Scott.