Hey, Hey Hey!
Hay is for horses grass is free…
Hey good lookin’.
How many different songs, TV shows, themes and phrases can you think of with the word hey (hay) in them?
Chances are pretty good that the Triway Titans can only think of one, and that Hay will be haunting them for awhile.
West Holmes senior Grant Hay took a close game and blew it wide open in the season opener for both teams on Friday, August 24 at Triway High School, and the Knights scored three times in a 54-second span to pull out a 41-22 game that was perhaps closer than what many thought it might be.
Hay and junior teammate Layne Perone proved to be too much for the Titans on both sides of the ball, and West Holmes escaped Triway with a much-needed win to begin the year.
“I think this was a big win for us,” said West Holmes coach Kevin Maltarich. “One, because of the way we won. How it happened brought us back down to earth a little bit, and showed us that we aren’t invincible. That said, Triway is going to be a lot better football team than people realize.
“But what this showed us was that we have to be on top of the mental part of the game at all times, and we have some corrections to make. But we got a W and it’s past now and we are moving on.”
It was a victory, but a 19-point win may have never come with so much angst for any team. Triway actually held a 15-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and appeared to be on the verge of adding to it when Brady Arnold stepped in front of a Parker Carmichael pass at the Knights’ two yard line and stopped Triway’s drive cold.
West Holmes then marched 98 yards on 15 plays, with junior Layne Perone doing the bulk of the damage, literally at times as he powered over and through Titans defenders, to produce a 20-15 lead.
And then Hay just went nuts.
After West Holmes put the clamps on Triway to force a punt, Hay went around the right side, broke a couple of tackles and scampered 54 yards to ignite the Knights faithful. After the ensuing kick-off, Perone picked off a Carmichael pass and raced down the sideline, only a shoestring tackle preventing him from getting into the end zone. But with the ball resting on the one yard line, Perone finished what he started, handing the Knights a 34-15 lead.
A great return seemed to have the Titans in good shape, but lineman Brock Macauley batted a Carmichael pass up in the air, grabbed it and gave West Holmes the ball on their own 42 yard line. One play later, Hay was dashing into the end zone again, a 58-yard burst that put an end to any kind of comeback drama Triway had in mind.
A grand total of 54 seconds produced 21 points for the Knights and gave them all the cushion they would need down the stretch.
“You know, we ran for almost 500 yards, and I think that is just about any coaches dream,” said Maltarich. “Having fresh legs at the end of the game definitely paid big dividends.”
While the final score may have appeared somewhat lopsided, it was far from that through the first three quarters, as the two teams continued to trade punches like heavyweight fighters at Madison Square Gardens.
The Knights took a 7-0 lead early on when quarterback Gabe Snyder found Arnold on a 28-yard scoring strike to cap a 70-yard drive. Then it was the Titans turn to come roaring back. Carmichael led the Titans on a 65-yard scoring march, finding Kyle Kearney on a 17-yard pass play in the end zone, but the extra point failed. Following a West Holmes turnover, Triway came right back with a 40-yard drive that ended when Carmichael found Justin Copley, the Titans again failing on a two-point conversion, but they had the lead 12-7.
Carmichael ended up throwing for more than 350 yards with three scoring strikes, and Maltarich alluded to some breakdowns on defense being part of the issue. The other issue was a talented young sophomore quarterback who played well beyond his years.
“If we made a mistake he found it,” said Maltarich of Carmichael. “We had pressure on him all night and he was spot on about every time he threw it. For a sophomore to come out and do that is amazing.”
But even as Carmichael was throwing strikes to give Triway the edge, the Knights responded with a 65-yard drive to end the half, with Perone diving in from the one to give West Holmes a 13-12 halftime edge.
The third quarter only produced more drama, as a Triway field goal gave the Titans a 15-13 advantage, but West Holmes responded again going on their 98-yard storm down the field after Arnold’s interception.
And then came the fourth quarter, when the Knights, led by Hay, scored four times to blow the game open.
In a game featuring very diverse offensive approaches, the Knights were the ones able to sustain the effort through the running game, and kept control of the clock with their stable of running backs delivering as promised.
“For the most part, especially down the stretch, when we had to make plays, whether on offense or defense, we did the job,” said Maltarich. “It was a lot more than just Grant’s two big runs, although those were pretty nice. We worked hard to correct our mistakes, and we did it on the fly.
“The nice thing is, we gave someone a three touchdown loss and we aren’t happy about it. The kids realize we have a lot of work to do yet.”