HAYTI, Mo. – The Valle Catholic football team showed a fighting spirit down to its last defensive series while facing a massive challenge on the road Friday night.
But senior running back Ivory Winters and the stellar defensive line of top-ranked Hayti prevented the Warriors from extending their streak of 10 consecutive district titles.
Winters rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, and the Indians held Valle Catholic to negative yardage on the ground to prevail 28-7 in Class 1, District 1 championship game.
Chrivontae Moore completed 9-of-19 passes for 146 yards plus a touchdown, and Hayti (12-0) advanced to the state quarterfinals for a matchup next week against Thayer.
Senior receiver Ryan Grein caught the lone touchdown for Valle Catholic (9-3) in the third quarter, and totaled a game-high 13 receptions for 143 yards in his varsity finale.
The smothering run defense and pure athleticism in the secondary for Hayti forced the Warriors into a more confined attack consisting of quicker and shorter throws.
Quarterback Chase Dunlap was a solid 24-of-41 passing for 227 yards, but was intercepted three times during the second half as Valle Catholic tried to overcome its deficit.
Hayti averaged 60 points through 11 games, but was limited by Valle to less than half of that standard. Kellen Blum had two tackles in the backfield to help stall the game’s first possession at the 11-yard line.
The Warriors reached the Hayti 31 on their second possession following a 24-yard pass from Dunlap to Tyler Blum, but the threat ended with a sack on fourth down.
Moore used a creative play to open the scoring. His sudden flip while selling an option keeper found Nakwon Harris, who raced 57 yards along the right sideline with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
Winters, a 220-pound powerhouse and Division I prospect, would dominate the Indians’ next drive. He gained 26 yards while bulldozing and dragging tacklers on a key fourth-and-6 play.
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He would score from the 2 on the initial play of the second quarter, and Hayti enjoyed a 12-0 lead after failing to convert a second two-point conversion try.
Grein sparked Valle Catholic on the ensuing series with tough running on a 27-yard screen pass, but a deep throw narrowly eluded the grasp of Tyler Blum in the end zone.
Trenton Linderer made an interception for the Warriors after a holding penalty pushed Hayti backward, but a subsequent Valle Catholic threat fizzled at the Hayti 28 just before halftime.
The Indians forced a three-and-out to begin the second half, and proceeded to cover 76 yards on just eight plays to extend their advantage.
Winters posted rushing gains of 22 and 24 yards during the march, and Adreian Stevenson bounced off several defenders for an 18-yard touchdown that made it 20-0.
Valle Catholic regrouped defensively with three consecutive stops, including an interception by Owen Viox after Dunlap was picked off by Damorri Reed and Tylor Wooden.
A short punt was alertly picked up and returned by Warriors lineman Kyle Roth to the Hayti 19, and Dunlap connected on a 16-yard scoring strike to Grein with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
Winters broke to the outside for a clinching 44-yard touchdown four plays later – extending the 20-7 margin – then added the 2-point conversion for the final points.
His bid for a third touchdown was denied, however, as Valle Catholic stuffed a fourth-and-goal running play with about two minutes remaining after Moore had an explosive 53-yard scamper.
Tyler Blum and Kellen Blum each made four receptions, and Bryce Palmer chipped in two more for Valle Catholic, which had entered the contest on an 8-game win streak.
The Warriors registered eight tackles for loss. Kellen Blum made a team-high 15 tackles while Kyle Roth and Carter Roth had 12 each.