Bayard takes underdog role to Hastings-St. Cecilia
     2011-10-27      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber: Conner Maurer (No 51) moves the football on a fake punt while Trenton Applegate (No 65) and Michael Alfaro (No 28) provides blockin Thursday night against Chase County. 
BAYARD -- Stranger things have happened in sports. That is why they play the games.

So while Bayard football coach Philep Willey expressed disappointment that the Tigers (4-4) were seeded No. 16 in their half of the Class C2 playoffs, he had plenty of reason to take solace in that Bayard was in the playoffs for the second straight year.

"Our goal was to be in the playoffs but not to be the last seed," said Willey, whose 4-4 team will once again travel to Hastings to play undefeated and No. 1 seeded St. Cecilia (8-0) in first-round play. Thursday's game will be at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

"I've watched a couple of their games," Willey said in reviewing video of the Bluehawks. "They're pretty good. I'm surprised how well they pass the ball and the do it with a lot of success."

St. Cecilia and its traditional ground-based game defeated Bayard 62-21 last year in what was the Tigers' first playoff game since 1993.

"We'll go and play it," said Willey, who after finding some playbook success from a YouTube video might return to the online archives to find some more trickery for the Tigers against St. Cecilia.

Bayard suffered a 35-7, regular-season ending loss to the Chase County Longhorns in the teams' District C2-10 and regular-season finale on Thursday night.

But the Tigers erased the 35-point running clock rule after Chase County's final touchdown, thanks to a fake punt that senior Conner Maurer took 39 yards to the Longhorns' 17-yard line.

A 12-yard pass from senior Brandon Stuart to senior Kody Krantz set up Stuart's second-down toss to sophomore Michael Alfaro for Bayard's lone touchdown of the night. Junior Dustin Daniel's extra-point kick closed out the Tigers' scoring with 5:12 remaining in the game.

On the fake punt, Maurer jumped up as though the snap was high. Stuart rolled right and drew the Longhorns' attention, while Maurer tucked the ball behind his back for a second, then he took off down the left sideline for the big gain and keep the Tigers' scoring chances alive.

"I pulled that play off of YouTube," Willey said. "It was a pro game from the '90s, I think. We just moved it to our own formation and our punter made a nice run. It was fun. You have to have fun plays for the kids during the week. That is one thing we try to do every week."

The Tigers actually outgained Chase County offensively, 272 yards to 259. Two Bayard fumbles and two interceptions, however, proved costly in the long run.

As a result, the game belonged to Chase County (5-3 overall, 3-1 district) in, well, an imperial performance.

Sophomore Dan Sullivan, who ran for 75 yards on 20 carries, scored the Longhorns' first two touchdowns, on runs of 6 and 8 yards.
Junior quarterback Kale Gockley put Chase County ahead 21-0.
Junior fullback Justin German, who had 52 yards on 13 carries, scored on a 1-yard rush in the third quarter for a 28-0 Longhorn lead, and junior Michael May's 48-yard interception return put Chase County ahead 35-0 10:06 left in the game.

For Bayard (2-2 district), Stuart completed 17 of 34 passes for 154 yards with two interceptions and the touchdown pass, with Krantz catching six passes for 93 yards. Stuart also led the Tigers on the ground with 54 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, Stuart made 8 solo and seven assisted tackles, while senior Ashton Rose made an interception along with four solo and eight assisted tackles. Junior Austin Willey made 3 solo and eight assisted stops, while Daniel had two solo and eight assisted tackles.

"The kids played really hard and they showed a lot of heart," Willey said. "We made a lot of mental mistakes that we hoped to eliminate this week. I think we could have played them a bit closer, but they always play really hard. Chase County is well coached. Our kids played hard, too, and if we eliminate those mistakes we will be a lot better (this) week."

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