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Hayti football season ends with 41-24 loss to defending champion Valle

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Jamerial Cody (5) and the rest of the Hayti football team walk off the field following its 41-24 loss to Valle Catholic Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. -- Hayti's football team knew that its road to the playoffs would have to go through Valle Catholic High School.

It was an inevitable collision course that was set in motion when MSHSAA released its new enrollment breaks showing that Hayti had dropped to Class 1 in April.

The Indians got its match with the three-time defending state champion Warriors on Friday night in the Class 1, District 1 championship game, but Hayti did not have enough to stop the Valle juggernaut, falling 41-24.

Hayti's Ivory Winters (27) tries to avoid a tackle from Valle Catholic's Josh Bader (85) Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
For Hayti coach Neal Cruce, it was a night of what ifs.

Cruce already knew one of his top playmakers, Maurice Farr, was out with a season-ending ankle injury, but he wasn't quite as prepared for the blow his team was dealt in last week's district semifinal win over Scott City when standout senior Dayon Moore was flagged for targeting and subsequently ejected from the game. By state rules, Moore was also forced to sit out Friday night's game against Valle.

"The biggest factor for us tonight was trying to find an answer to fill the spots where Dayon Moore should have played," Cruce said. "Defensively we tried to get a couple different guys ready to play, but at the end of the day that's a kid you can't replace. It was tough."

Moore, who is known for his physical play on both sides of the ball at linebacker and wide receiver, currently holds an offer from Southeast Missouri State University and has drawn interest from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas State, and Nebraska according to rivals.com.

But the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior, donning his No. 7 jersey but without pads and helmet, could only watch helplessly from the sideline.

Valle coach Judd Naeger said Hayti gained his attention early in the season and fully expected to meet the Indians in the district title game.

"We knew at the beginning of the year looking at some of the things [Hayti was] doing early on," Naeger said. "It's a shame Farr was out hurt and we all know what occurred with Moore. It's a shame. Obviously it would have been a different game. It kind of changes the strategy on both sides. You feel bad for those two kids. You feel bad for our kid (Tristan Huck) who tore his ACL in Week 1. He's the heart and soul of our football team so we know what it's like to be in their spot."

Valle Catholic's Cole Wood hauls in a catch against Hayti Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
Hayti (10-2) had some big moments on the offensive side of the ball, but the Indians could not slow down Valle's diversified offensive attack.

Valle (10-1) tallied 447 yards of total offense with 257 coming on the ground.

"We gave them plenty of chances. We missed plenty of tackles," Cruce said. "We missed them in the backfield somewhere around six times by halftime. We didn't play as fundamentally sound as we needed to. [Valle] played a good game and they're a great football team. I tip my hat to them. We're going to have to bounce back next year."

Hayti used big plays to score its points starting off with quarterback Allen Mills' 40-yard deep pass to Reginald Ford, who got behind the Valle defensive back, to lead 6-0 on the Indians' opening drive.

Valle took a brief 7-6 lead after a 7-play, 61-yard drive on a 13-yard sweep by Tristan Rollhaus, but Hayti reclaimed the lead on its ensuing drive when Mills escaped the pocket and scrambled free for a 45-yard touchdown to lead 12-7.

Valle took control of the game from there with Cole Wood scoring on touchdown runs of 4 and 29 yards to lead 21-12. Wood is listed as a tight end/wide receiver, but the 6-foot-2, 181-pound senior did the bulk of his damage taking snaps out of the shotgun and churning out yards behind his offensive line and lead blockers.

Hayti quarterback Allen Mills (8) looks for a receiver against Valle Catholic Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
Wood finished the game with 159 yards rushing on 20 carries and four touchdowns.

Hayti appeared to had gained momentum as halftime neared when Ford caught a short pass and turned it into a 41-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-18 with 1:58 left.

But Valle responded with a precise two-minute drill offense, needing just seven plays while using no timeouts to march 80 yards capped by Rollhaus' 17-yard touchdown reception from Mason Skaggs to increase the lead to 29-18 with 20 seconds left.

"That was a big score," Naeger said.

After a scoreless third quarter, Wood scored on a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend the Valle lead to 35-18.

Hayti's big-play offense struck again on its ensuing possession, this time from receiver Ivory Winters, who caught a short pass on the left sideline, sidestepped a few Warrior defenders and out-sprinted the rest 86 yards to the end zone to cut the lead to 35-24 with 10:26 left in the game.

Winters was filling in for Moore on offense and the 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore didn't disappoint, catching eight passes for 148 yards.

"We worked really hard to get Ivory Winters ready this week to play wide receiver and he answered the challenge," Cruce said.

Following Winters' touchdown, Hayti was able to get a couple defensive stops, but the Indians could not capitalize on its opportunities with one drive ending on downs and another ending on an interception by Skaggs.

"We didn't play bad -- just a couple costly turnovers here and there," Cruce said.

Valle sealed the game following the interception as Wood scored his fourth touchdown on a 3-yard run to reach the final margin.

Skaggs completed 11 of 15 passes for 190 yards with two interceptions. Rollhaus had 89 yards receiving on five catches while Wood had three receptions for 72 yards.

"We probably could have been a little more diverse but at the same time as long as we were in the lead we were going to do our best to continue to pound the football," Naeger said. "It was a tough game. You've got to give a lot of credit to Hayti. They've got a lot amazing athletes. I thought their kids played hard."

Members of the Hayti football team react following its 41-24 loss to Valle Catholic Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, during the Class 1 District 1 championship game in Ste. Genevieve, Mo.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
Valle's defense stifled Hayti's ground game, limiting the Indians to 94 yards rushing on 32 attempts. Running back Devante Robinson was limited to 15 yards on nine carries.

Mills, who actually reached 104 yards rushing after his first 13 carries, took huge losses on four sacks and wound up with 76 yards rushing on 20 attempts.

Mills threw for 272 yards, completing 16 of 32 passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Mills finished his senior year with impressive numbers, rushing for 1,044 yards with 19 touchdowns and throwing for 2,347 yards with 33 touchdowns.

"Probably one of the most coachable kids I've ever coached in 13 years," Cruce said of Mills. "One thing about Allen Mills, he's a better person than he is a football player, and he's a pretty dang good football player. He had a good game tonight."

Ford had five catches for 93 yards.

Hayti finished with 366 total yards.

Valle will be shooting for its sixth state championship in the last seven years and its state leading 15th overall. The Warriors will travel to take on Thayer (6-0 winners over Ash Grove) next Saturday in a Class 1 quarterfinal game.

Hayti will graduate 12 seniors from this year's team.

"The packet I handed out in May, our goal was to be conference champions and make it to the district championship," Cruce said. "We accomplished both those things but we couldn't get over the hump to win it tonight. We have nothing to be ashamed of or hang our heads about. Mental toughness has been our struggle all year and mental toughness is ultimately kind of what got us tonight. That's a big life lesson for a lot of us."


First Quarter

H -- Reginald Ford 40 pass from Allen Mills (pass failed), 8:30

V -- Tristan Rollhaus 13 run (Cole Wood kick), 3:20

H -- Mills 45 run (pass failed), 0:44

Second Quarter

V -- Wood 4 run (kick failed), 9:37

V -- Wood 29 run (Wood run), 3:50

V -- Rollhaus 17 pass from Mason Skaggs (Wood run), 0:20

Fourth Quarter

V -- Wood 1 run (run failed), 11:56

H -- Ivory Winters 86 pass from Mills (run failed), 8:26

V -- Wood 3 run (pass failed), 1:33


First Downs1219
Total yards366447
Passing yards272190


Rushing -- Hayti, Allen Mills 20-76, Devante Robinson 9-15, Jamerial Cody 1-10, Timothy Hamilton 2-(-7). Valle, Cole Wood 20-159, Carter Roth 15-84, Cody Stoll 4-15, Tristan Rollhaus 2-10, Cole Keeley 1-3, Mason Skaggs 1-2, Team 3-(-16).

Passing -- Hayti, Allen Mills 16-32-2 272. Valle, Mason Skaggs 11-15-2 190.

Receiving -- Hayti, Ivory Winters 8-148, Reginald Ford 5-93, Timothy Hamilton 2-18, Devante Robinson 1-13. Valle, Tristan Rollhaus 5-89, Cole Wood 3-72, Cole Keeley 2-24, Tyler Blum 1-5.

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