By Robert Bradford
North Jefferson News
A late touchdown by Hunter Doppler gave Corner the cushion they needed to hold off neighboring Hayden by a 27-20 score in a rivalry game Friday.
Corner took over on their first possession after forcing a Wildcat punt, and the Yellow Jackets took only a minute and a half to get on the scoreboard. Dylan Hand, who would have two receiving touchdowns on the night, caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Chase Best with 8:39 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jackets tried a little trickery on the ensuing kickoff. The onside kick attempt was taken in by Hayden's Blake Adams, and later Pat Hargett capped the drive on a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:07 remaining in the first quarter.
Corner was forced to punt on their next possession, but pinned the Cats down at the 14. Wildcats coach Keith Register made a big call when he tried to convert on a fourth down at the Hayden 22, but failed. From there, Corner drove and Best carried in from one yard out for the touchdown with 11:46 to play in the first half.
Corner's Dylan Adamson came up with an interception late in the first half to give his Jackets another shot at scoring. The Jackets took advantage and put points on the board just before intermission. The Best-to-Hand combination was true on a 26-yard pass for the score with only 21 seconds on the clock.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle, as the teams swapped punts for most of the quarter. But with 41 seconds left in the quarter, Hayden's Dylan Putnam ran in from the 11 for the score to cut the lead to 21-14.
Once again the teams would play good defense and force punts. The Wildcats’ Austin Norton recovered the only Corner turnover of the night on a fumble, and converted it when Clay Hogeland — who appeared to be caught in the backfield for a loss — dazzled the crowd with an 18-yard touchdown run. The point after failed but Hayden had cut the lead to 21-20 with only 3:23 left in the game.
After an onside kick was recovered by Corner, the Jackets put an insurance score on the board with a 41-yard touchdown run by Doppler. Sanford's extra point was blocked.
The Cats had one last chance, but Corner's Hand intercepted a Hayden pass with just over a minute left in the game.
Doppler led the rushing stats with 75 yards on nine carries, while Taylor Crawford added 42 on 8 carries. Hayden's Blake Adams had 61 yards on 15 carries and Dylan Putnam had 51 yards on 11 attempts.
Hand had 69 yards one five catches with two touchdowns, plus an interception.
"We're getting better, we had some guys to grow up tonight,” Hayden's Keith Register said. “It was a good game and glad we didn't give up, we had a chance to win."
Corner (3-2) travels to Oak Grove in Week 6, while Hayden (0-5) hosts Walker.