Ray Hayden sets single-game rushing record in win over Blue Devils
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 3, 2005 - COMO - What a way to bounce back for the Como-Pickton Eagles Friday night in their home opener against the Celeste Blue Devils.

After a 28-20 season opening loss to Rivercrest, the Eagles took care of the  Blue Devils for the second straight year, 56-28, at Heflin Field, after a 43-7 win last year in Celeste.

Senior running back Ray Hayden set the school's single-game rushing record with 21 carries for 348 yards and six touchdowns, and the Eagles had 563 yards of total offense to even their record at 1-1. 

Hayden now has 562 yards on 51 totes and nine touchdowns in the first two games of the season, and CPHS coach Joe Ryzman gave credit to the offensive line for Hayden's production Friday night.

"Ray did a great job, but just as I tell Ray as well as his offensive line, a lot of credit needs to be given to the offensive line," Ryzman said. "Wade Arnold, Reece Caddell, Cameron Crump, Alex Mowat and Clayton Humphrey did well for us tonight."

Hayden opened up the scoring, blasting through the middle of the Blue Devils' defense 56 yards for an early 6-0 lead. Noe Tellez, playing with a broken hand, missed the PAT with 10:49 remaining in the first quarter.

On the Eagles' next possession, Hayden went back to his comfort zone straight up the middle this time for 36 yards, and Trent Vail converted the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.

Celeste (0-2) then wore the CP defense down with a long drive ending in a 13-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Casey Barbee to Fritiz Vale to cut the deficit in half, as Barbee nailed the PAT, but that would be the closest Celeste would get for the remainder of the contest.

"Our kids played well and we made a lot of improvement over last week," Ryzman said. "I thought, being the perfectionist that I am, that I saw a lot of areas that we need to work on in order to accomplish our goal and make the playoffs again."

Penalties once again hurt the Eagles on several key drives throughout the game as Garold Pierce had his third turnover of the season negated by a penalty as he intercepted a Barbee pass in the end zone, but a blocking in the back penalty gave the ball back to the Blue Devils late in the half. The Eagles finished with nine penalties for 65 yards.

Ryzman praised the play of Pierce, and said having him in the secondary makes things very comfortable for him during the game.

"Garold has been a super addition to our defense and I couldn't imagine playing secondary without him. He is the backbone of our secondary, and I am really pleased with that young man," the coach said.

After a 43-yard touchdown run by Vail ended the first quarter at 21-7, senior wideout Josh Telfer took advantage of the one-back, double tight-end set the Eagles were running as Vail connected with him on a 36-yard pass to extend the lead to 21 points early in the second period.

One player that Ryzman was concerned about coming into the matchup was Celeste senior David Lakeman, who scored two touchdowns in the contest on a 1-yard run and a 6-yard pass from Barbee late in the quarter to get Celeste within eight at 28-20.

Hayden scored his third touchdown of the first half with nine seconds remaining as he blasted around the right side 48 yards to paydirt. Tellez's PAT was good. Hayden scored on runs of 4, 15 and 25 yards in the second half.

With 8:29 left in the third quarter, Humphrey intercepted a pass from Barbee as Celeste was deep in CP territory, and then late in the fourth quarter Barbee threw his second interception as Vail tipped the pass to Tellez to end another scoring threat.

Hayden hit the 300-yard plateau on the next play, going 57 yards before being brought down from behind. 

With under a minute remaining in the contest, Ryzman pulled Hayden and used senior Kaleb Mosley as running back, as he bowled his way for 11-yards on one carry for the Eagles. Vail then ran the clock down to preserve the win.

Vail had 152 yards rushing on 11 totes in the game and went 3-of-5 passing for 52 yards and one touchdown, and Ryzman said the progression of his quarterback is starting to show as they get into Week 2 action next week at Harmony.    

"Trent did a lot better and he is a very good athlete," the coach said. "He is doing well at learning our system and getting a better feel for it and reading defenses and adjusting to what the defense gives us."

Telfer was the leading receiver for the Eagles with two catches for 44 yards and one touchdown, while teammate Bo Baxter had one catch for eight yards.

The Eagles were able to contain Blue Devil senior Cooper Haralson, who mainly ran crossing routes, as he finished with eight catches for 189 yards as Pierce, Hayden or Vail had coverage on Haralson throughout the game.

Kickoff for Friday's final pre-district contest against Harmony is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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