By Robert Bradford
North Jefferson News
The beginning of Keith Register era at Hayden didn't go as hoped for Friday night, as the Wildcats went down to defeat on the road at Sylacauga by a 35-3 score.
The Wildcats threatened midway of the first quarter, after a 57-yard run by Dylan Putnam set up a field goal try. The 32-yard attempt was blocked with 6:51 remaining in the opening period.
The Aggies then drove 83 yards for their first score of the night. Quarterback Hunter Johns ran in from 10 yards out. Colin Shannon added to extra point to put the Aggies up 7-0 with 4:44 left in the quarter.
Hayden's next possession ended when Sylacauga recovered a fumble near midfield. On the first play after the fumble, Johns hit tight end Matt Griffitt for 51 yards and a score. The point after was missed with 3:14 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a Cats punt, the Aggies found paydirt again. Wide receiver Brooks Jackson caught a 17-yard pass from Johns for the score. The try for two points failed, but Sylacauga had extended the lead to 19-0 with 10:42 remaining in the half.
Hayden turned the ball over for the second time on the ensuing kickoff, and the Aggies’ Montel McGhee recovered the ball in the end zone. Bailey Frost added the point-after to up the lead to 26-0 with 10:36 left in the third quarter.
Sylacauga drove to the Hayden 2-yard line before J.J. Jinright recovered an Aggies fumble to kill the drive.
Putnam excited the crowd with a 72-yard run but another Cat fumble stopped the possession.
The Aggies put up an insurance touchdown midway through the third quarter when Ian Floyd scored on a 36-yard run.
The teams each added a field goal in the fourth quarter, with Sylacauga's coming from 19 yards away on the leg of Frost. Hayden's came on a 30-yard kick by Putnam for the team’s only score of the night.
Putnam had 195 yards on 21 carries to lead all rushers.
“We got better tonight, Putnam almost got 200 yards rushing. The effort was there, we're just real young,” Register said. “I'm really proud of the boys, but we’ve got to take one game at a time and look at ourselves. We’ve got lots of work to do."
Next week the Cats go on the road again to Springville, which defeated Ashville tonight.