June 15, 2024

Bah Dominates in Return as Hays Flys Past Dodge

DODGE CITY, Kan. – After missing the previous two and half games with a shoulder injury, Hays senior running back Malik Bah returned in a big way as he ran for four touchdowns in Hays’ 40-20 win over Dodge City at Memorial Stadium.

Hays had a promising start to the season, going 2-0 against Junction City and Great Bend to start the year while Bah emerged as one of the best runners in the WAC. Things came crashing down in week 3 though when the Indians got smashed by Manhattan 49-7. Even worse, they lost Bah to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the next two weeks.

The Indians lost their first game without Bah in Garden City before beating a struggling Ulysses team in a game where they essentially had no running backs at all. They came into the matchup against Dodge City with a 3-2 record but still weren’t sure where they fit into the WAC picture.

Dodge City was on the outside looking in coming into the game. They were the only team in the WAC without a conference win and they were running out of chances to make a difference in the race. They had lost back-to-back games entering the night and had scored only seven offensive points in the last ten quarters of football.

Things got off on the wrong foot for the Demons offense again, which was operating without junior receivers Bryson Unzueta and Jayden Amaro due to injuries. They punted on their opening drive after three plays and junior quarterback Alan Flores, who doubles as the team’s punter, mishit his punt attempt which traveled only 15 yards to set up Hays on the Dodge City 41-yard line.

It took only one play for Bah to find the end zone as he found a hole on the opening play and burst through it going 41 yards for the opening score just over two minutes into the game. Dodge City went three-and-out again on the following drive handing the ball back to Hays on the Dodge City 49-yard line after another poorly struck punt from Flores.

After Hays couldn’t get anything on first down, the Demons fell for the play action and Indians quarterback Carter Graham found Johnny Cano wide open down the middle for a 49-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 early.

Hays missed a field goal late in the opening quarter which kept Dodge in it but they still couldn’t get a drive going as they took the 14 point deficit into the second quarter. Midway through the frame, right after a Hays punt, Flores was picked off by Johnny Rigler deep in Dodge territory. Rigler returned the interception to the six yard line and Bah grabbed his second touchdown of the first half on the very next play to extend the lead to 20-0 after a missed extra point.

Down by 20 late in the opening half, the Demons needed to get a drive going and they were finally able to as they converted two third downs and a fourth down to gett deep into Indians territory. Facing 3rd-and-11 just outside the red zone, Dodge City drew up a nifty reverse to Ty Scheck who found space to the outside and fought his way in for a 22 yard score to cut the deficit to 20-6 going into halftime after the Demons missed the PAT.

Trying to regain control in the third quarter, Bah struck again, this time from 67 yards out, on the opening play of the second half to push the lead to 27-6. 

Disaster stuck for Dodge City as they mishandled the ensuing kickoff return, giving the ball back to Hays with good field position. Bah rushed for his fourth touchdown of the game five plays later to give the visitors their largest lead of the game at 34-6. 

A long Demons drive followed but they were unable to convert on a fourth down on the Indians’ side of the field and Hays followed with another scoring drive that put the game well out of reach as Ian McGuire plunged in from one yard out to make it 40-6 and Hays cruised the rest of the way.

Dodge grabbed a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give themselves something positive to leave the field with but they were still thoroughly outplayed in the 40-20 defeat. 

The Demons remain the only winless team in the WAC as they drop to 2-4 on the season. Hays keeps themselves alive for the WAC title with the victory, though they will need to beat 6-0 Liberal next week to force a tie. Garden City could also be in the mix as they sit at 1-1 with two conference games to play.

Dodge City will be at Buffalo Stadium next Friday for their annual Hatchet Game against the Garden City Buffaloes. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Z98 with pregame coverage starting at 6:30.