By Robert Bradford
North Jefferson News
ARAB — Hayden’s hopes of ending the season on a winning note failed Friday night, as host Arab came away with a 34-20 win.
On the first play from scrimmage, the Arabian Knights’ Ridge Watson ran 70 yards for the score on an end around just 20 seconds into the game.
Hayden's offense then came out and drove 65 yards to the Knights 6-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. After forcing an Arab punt, the Cats started their next drive at the 40, and found paydirt when sophomore quarterback Tim Curry hit junior wide receiver Zac Bradford for a 4-yard touchdown pass. The point-after kick was blocked, but the Cats had tied the score at 6-6 with 13.5 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Knights would waste little time before answering, as A.J. Crawford scampered 47 yards for the touchdown with 10:30 left in the first half. Arab then forced a Hayden punt and got the ball at the Cats 40; quarterback Dalton Hyatt finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run and gave the Knights a 20-6 going to the break.
Hayden opened the second half with senior running Clay Hogeland’s 43-yard touchdown run, which cut the lead to 20-12 with 9:35 to go in the third period.
Neither team would score again until early in the fourth quarter. Arab, aided by a fake punt, scored from one yard out on a run by Drew Murphree with 10:35 left in the game.
The Kinights scored again late when Hyatt hit Derek Ryan for 40-yard touchdown pass with only 2:42 remaining.
The Cats got one last score on a 28-yard pass play from Curry to Adam Payne. Walter Finley was successful on an 8-yard run (after a penalty) for the two-point conversion.
Blake Adams led the Wildcats ground attack with 132 yards on 20 carries, out of 230 yards total rushing for the team. Overall, the Cats’ 324 net yards was just nine fewer than Arab’s 333.
The loss ends Hayden's season at 1-9 under first-year coach Keith Register.