By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BIRCHLEAF, Va. —
Haysi only made a few big defensive plays in the first half, but it was enough to make the difference for the rest of the game.
Zach Owens threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and the Tigers picked up their fifth straight win with a 28-0 shutout of Hurley in a key Black Diamond District contest Friday at Sandlick Elementary School.
Both offenses struggled with turnovers the entire night, combining for eight overall. There was one just offensive touchdown in the first half, a 36-yard pass from Owens to Heath Mullins at the 3:33 mark of the first quarter.
The Tigers (6-2, 3-0) doubled their margin on defense when freshman Gauge Hill scooped up a Hurley fumble and sprinted 65 yards for a touchdown late in the opening period.
Hurley (4-4, 0-3) answered with the longest sustained drive for either club, marching 16 plays to the Haysi 15-yard line before turning the ball over on downs on fourth-and-one.
The entire left side of the Tigers defense stuffed the off-tackle play.
“We made a couple of big plays on defense,” Haysi coach James Colley said.
“Gauge Hill made a big play and that was a huge stop at the 15.
“If they get in the end zone it’s a one-score lead, not two and that made a big difference.”
Both defenses held the opposition to negative yardage on the ground in the second half.
Chad Estep, Dillon Bailey and Billy Stacy led a Hurley defense that had 11 tackles for loss against Haysi. The Tigers had minus-13 yards rushing in the second half.
“Except for a couple of big plays our defense played great,” said Hurley coach Greg Tester, whose club was without starting quarterback Nick Gibson, who was ill.
“We just have to find a way to generate some offense. That really hurt when we couldn’t punch it in the end zone before halftime.”
Tristan Yates and Tyler Blankenship were among the leaders for a Haysi defense that got 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Haysi had a key, 11-play, 63-yard drive in the third quarter and took a 22-0 lead after Owens tossed his second TD pass to Mullins, this one for 11 yards.
Hurley lost its third of nine fumbles to set up another Haysi score, a one-yard run by Owens near the end of the third period. The Rebels turned the ball over five times overall.
“I never felt comfortable until we got that third score,” Colley said. “Hurley played hard.
“Coach Tester does a good job with them. They’ve got a good football team.”
Ethan Duty had 112 all-purpose yards for the Rebels.
Yates and Zack Dobbs had interceptions for Haysi. Billy Stacy had one pick for Hurley.
Hurley.........................................0 0 0 0 — 0
Haysi.........................................14 0 14 0 — 28
Hay-Mullins 36 pass from Owens (run failed)
Hay-Hill 65 fum ret (Bowen run)
Hay-Mullins 11 pass from Owens (Bowen run)
Hay-Owens 1 run (pass failed)
First Downs: Hur , Hay ; Rushes-Yards: Hur 33-24, Hay 32-8; Passing Yards: Hur 41, Hay 211; Comp-Att-Int: Hur 4-11-2, Hay 13-22-1; Fumbles-Lost: Hur 9-3, Hay 4-3; Penalties-Yards: Hur 10-78, Hay 5-25; Punts-Average: Hur 4-26.7, Hay 1-53.