Monday, 29 May 2023
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Superb Second Half Pushes Holton Past Hayden to 3A Title Game
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Holton 48, Hayden 17

With a 34-0 dominating second half, Holton defeated rival Hayden for the second time this season to capture a Sub State Championship and advance to the 3A State Title Game for the first time since 2015. Jayden Fletcher and Matt Lierz hooked up for a couple passing touchdowns and totaled three more rushing TDs as Holton rallied from a 17-14 halftime deficit to win their 11th straight game. 

Holton had whipped Hayden 37-13 in week seven and knew they would get a stiffer test this time around in Hayden's third consecutive road playoff game. Indeed, Hayden gave Holton their best shot in the first half as the visiting Wildcats scored on a 70-yard TD pass from Jett Wahlmeier to Jensen Schrickel on the first snap of the night. After Holton tied the score at 7 on a 23-yard option run to the endzone by Lierz, Hayden went ahead 14-7 with a 12-play drive capped by Braydn Rose one-yard-run. Fletcher then broke a 47 yard TD to tie the score at 14 after one quarter. 

Both teams exchanged punts and were stimied in the second stanza before Hayden got a 31 yard field goal from Schrickel to put them on top 17-14 with momentum at halftime. Hayden ran 35 plays in the first half while Holton had only 18, but it was all Holton after intermission as they took a 21-17 lead when Lierz found Fletcher for a 41-yard TD pass, Lierz ran in from three yards out and again found Fletcher on a 33-yard TD strike on third down and ten for a 20-0 third quarter blitz. Hayden had a punt, then Dalton Rousch recovered a fumble on Hayden's second drive of the third period (for the games only turnover) and the route was on.

Fletcher finished with 148 yards on 12 carries and added two receptions for 74 yards and three total trips to the endzone. Lierz ran for 45 yards but two scores and two more TD passes which gives him 11 touchdown tosses on just 13 completed passes this season. Jace Boswell and Jakari Washington added fourth quarter rushing touchdowns as Holton outgained Hayden 276-98 in the second half. Garyson Booth, who ran for 352 last week against Girard registered 16 carries for 130 yards, including a 64-yard run in the third quarter. 

Hayden ends their season at 10-2 with both losses at Holton. Wahlmeier was 9-25 passing for 140 yards and Finn Dunshee had 119 yards rushing on 18 carries while also catching a 70-yard pass to give Hayden the early 7-0 lead. Hayden ended the night with 311 total yards. 

Holton will face Andale who won their 50th straight game in beating Clay Center 36-0 in the other 3A semifinal. Andale has won the last three state titles. It will be the first meeting between the teams in a decade as Holton topped the Indians in 2013 and in 2010. Kickoff is set for 1 PM Saturday in Hutchinson with live coverage on KNZA 103.9 FM.   




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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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