The futility is over, and what a way to end a losing streak.
After three weeks on the road, Hayden stayed home and held on for a one-point lead over Center Point, the first victory for the Wildcats of the season.
Starting quarterback Corey Ward did double duty, intercepting an Eagle pass in the end zone to kill Center Point's first scoring threat late in the first quarter after the teams had swapped punts.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard when quarterback Kellian Knight hooked up with wide receiver Sherman Starks for a 35 yard strike. The extra point put Center Point up 7-0 with exactly 10 minutes to go in the first half.
The Wildcats showed some offensive spark on their next drive, but were stopped at the Eagle 25, then Hayden forced an Eagle punt and had the ball at the 44 yard line. Ward finished off the drive by hitting Luke Wall for five yards and a score. The Cats’ pass failed on the two-point conversion attempt, but Hayden had cut the lead to 7-6 with two and a half minutes left in the first half.
Hayden was unable to muster any offense on their first possession of the second half. After a big punt by Ward, the Eagles were backed up to their 7. Center Point took a little under six minutes to drive the length of the field for the score, as Knight threw a touchdown pass to Terrance Bunch for 11 yards. The Eagles attempted a pass on the two-point conversion, which failed, but they had a 13-6 lead with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team would threaten to score again until late in the game.
Center Point was faced with a fourth and four at the Hayden 39-yard line, and the Cats defense forced a turnover on downs and had good field position with 4:30 to go in the game. On the first play, running back Parker Sims broke loose up the middle for 61 yards and the touchdown. Dylan Putnam's extra point tied the game at 13 with 4:18 to go.