SANDLICK, Va. — Haysi has started quickly on offense all season.
Friday they struck before the offense even took the field.
Tanner O’quinn returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers never looked back in a stunning 41-18 win over the Honaker Tigers Friday night.
In the biggest game in Black Diamond District history, Haysi (10-0, 4-0) earned its first BDD crown and first win over Honaker since 2009. It ended Honaker’s three-year hold on the title by quickly putting the visiting Tigers on their heels.
Honaker (9-1, 3-1) did exactly what it hoped to do on its first possession, driving the length of the field before defensive penetration by Jeffrey Bowen and Tristan Yates forced a fumble at the Haysi 4-yard line.
Jalen Sykes completed three passes as Haysi responded with a long drive of its own, going 96 yards in 13 plays to take a 14-0 lead after a 1-yard TD run by Bowen.
The hometown Tigers had the momentum and took advantage of it. Haysi, thanks to an interception by Tyler Mullins, scored twice in the final 52 seconds of the second quarter to build a 33-6 halftime lead.
“We came out fired up and we fed off our crowd,” said Sykes, who threw a 19-yard TD pass to O’quinn on the final play of the half. “They were fired up, we were fired up. It got us focused even more than we already were and we just ran with it.”
Bowen ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns, including an 11-yarder in the final minute of the first half and a 7-yarder to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Casey Dye threw three TD passes for Honaker, including a 40-yard screen pass for a score to Austin Smith to get his club within 21-6. It was as close as Honaker would get the rest of the night.
“After they ran the opening kickoff we came back and got a chance to score. We could have tied it right back up,” Honaker coach Doug Hubbard said. “That fumble [on our first possession] cost us.
“But we just got outplayed. You name the phase of the game, they were better at it. Hats off to Haysi, they just played better than us.”
Haysi was in Honaker’s backfield often, sacking Dye five times. Yates led the way with 16 tackles and a sack.
“We stayed in our gaps and just played smart, fundamental football,” Yates said.
Bowen had 13 stops and joined James Adkins, Gauge Hill and Robbie Yates with at least one sack.
“We worked on cutback lanes this week,” Haysi coach James Colley said. “[Dye] can run it, he can throw it. He’s definitely a dual threat and I thought we did a good job containing him.
“Our linemen did a super job and it’s the same guys on offense and on defense. Wade Turner, Robbie Yates, Blake Branham at center and he makes a lot of calls for us. James Adkins and Bryan Duncan and our fullback, [Tristan Yates] he does a great job blocking.”
The BDD title is the 17th in 32 seasons for Colley’s Tigers.
Both teams will host first-round playoff games next week.
Honaker 0 6 6 6 — 18
Haysi 14 19 0 8 — 41
Hay-T. O’quinn 95 kick return (Bowen kick)
Hay-Bowen 1 run (Bowen kick)
Hay-T. Yates 1 run (Bowen kick)
Hon-A. Smith 40 pass from Dye (kick failed)
Hay-Bowen 24 run (kick failed)
Hay-T. O’quinn 7 pass from Sykes (pass failed)
Hon-A. Parrott 19 pass from Dye (run failed)
Hay-T. Yates tackled Dye in end zone
Hon-Horton 10 pass from Dye (run failed)
Hay-Bowen 7 run (run failed)
First Downs: Hon 18, Hay 17; Rushes-Yards: Hon 43-130, Hay 32-291; Passing Yards: Hon 145, Hay 102; Comp-Att-Int: Hon 8-17-1, Hay 7-14-1; Fumbles-Lost: Hon 2-1, Hay 1-0; Penalties-Yards: Hon 5-43, Hay 11-89; Punts-Average: Hon 1-20, Hay 1-29.