By Chad Frey
HESSTON — After collecting his first win as a Swather, Hesston head coach Tyson Bauerle stood before his team and said very few words.
"Order has been restored," he barked. "We will keep it that way."
The Swathers entered Friday night 0-1 on the season and hosting rival Halstead. The Swathers and Dragons battled defensively in the first half before the game opened up in the second and gave way to a 37-22 win for Hesston.
The Swathers used a potent rushing attack — running for 436 yards and five touchdowns.
The halftime score was 10-8 as both offenses struggled to find footing — though Hesston had an opportunity to score right before the break, but a pair incomplete passes in the end zone left the offense stuck on 10 points.
"I have been following the rivalry and they have had some battles the last couple of years," Bauerle said. "This is a good win over a tough team."
Hesston began to open up the game in the second half — getting a big play out of quarterback Cameron Cox who scored on a 72-yard touchdown scamper on the second play of the third quarter. That put Hesston up by two scores.
Halstead answered quickly, putting together a on the Dragon's next possession, capping a nine play, 69-yard drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Kraus to Noah Mendez to pull within three points, 17-14.
Hesston answered with a drive of their own, taking more than two-and-a-half minutes off the clock and marching 79 yards and scoring on Cox's second touchdown run of the quarter.
"We tried to spread them out," Bauerle said. "... We continued to be one stop away to put them away."
That stop came on the next drive, as the Hesston defense recovered a Halsted fumble at the Hesston 37 yard line. The Swather offense again went on the march, scoring about three minutes later when Parker Roth scampered into the end zone from 44 yards out with 8:50 left to play. After a defensive stop, Roth struck again, this time from 75 yards out at the 3:10 mark to all but ice the game for Hesston.
Roth led the Swathers with 265 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Cox added 171 rushing yards and a pair of tochdowns on 19 carries to go with 105 yards passing, completing 13 of 19 attempts.
Halstead falls to 0-2 on the season. The Dragons were led by Dalton Kraus who threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns, completing 13 of 15 attempts while rushing for 71 yards on 15 attempts. Kaden Lopez led the Dragons on the ground, rushing for 71 yards on 15 attempts.
HAL 0 8 6 8 22
HES 7 3 14 13 37
5:20 HES Cox, 19-yard run. (Morales kick) 0-7
8:17 HES Morales, 24-yard field goal 0-10
4:17 HAL D. Kraus to Mendez, 13-yard pass (Lopez run) 8-10
11:15 HES Cox, 72-yard run. (Morales kick) 8-17
7:25 HAL D. Kraus to Mendez, 34-yard pass. (Run failed) 14-17
4:48 HES Cox, 8-yard run (Morales kick) 14-24
8:50 HES Roth, 44-yard run. (Morales kick) 14-31
3:10 HES Roth, 75-yard run. (Kick failed) 14-37
2:11 HAL D. Kraus to K. Kraus, 5-yard pass (D. Kraus to Lopez) 22-37
HAL — D. Kraus 13-15-181-3-0. HES — Cox 13-19-105-0-1.
HAL — Lopez 13-88-0; D. Kraus 15-71-0; Schulte 12-40-0; Fullghum 2-4-0. Totals: 42-203-0. HES Roth 24-265-2; Cox 19-171-2. Totals: 43-436-4.
HAL — K. Kraus 5-74-1; Mendez 3-54-2; Lopez 2-23-0; Grider 1-13-0; Gerber 1-12-0; Schulte 1-5-0. HES — Nebel 10-76-0; Roth 3-29-0.