By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
HURLEY, Va. —
A high-scoring offense and a defense that owns two shutouts have earned most of the headlines for unbeaten Haysi.
Friday was the special teams' night to shine.
Tanner O'Quinn scored three touchdowns, one on a 75-yard punt return, and Jeffrey Bowen added three more scores to help the Tigers to a 44-8 a win over Hurley at Smiley Ratliff Field at The Cliff.
Special teams dominated the first half of the Black Diamond District contest, setting up two more Haysi scores and Hurley's only touchdown.
After hauling in the first of two TD passes from Jalen Sykes, O'Quinn doubled the Haysi lead to 12-0 with his long punt return.
"I got to say my blocking was amazing," said the speedy senior. "I hit that hole and no one was there. I was gone.
"It was just good blocking. We're having a really good season, we've got a lot of kids out and we've done well all around, including our special teams."
Hurley (3-5, 1-2) got within 12-8 thanks in large part to a 52-yard kickoff return by Tray Oliver after O'Quinn's return for a score. The Rebels scored 10 plays later on a one-yard TD run by Nick Gibson.
O'Quinn answered immediately with a 28-yard kick return to the Hurley 44-yard line. Bowen's 25-yard run led to his first touchdown on a one-yard plunge.
O'Quinn finished with 260 all-purpose yards, with 123 return yards and 137 receiving yards on five catches.
"The kickoff return team played well, the punt return team played well, I thought they both did a really good job," Haysi coach James Colley said.
"The guys up there were blocking real well. Tanner was reading the blocks and cutting and we were getting good yardage."
Haysi (8-0, 3-0) built a 28-8 halftime lead and its average first-half possession started on the Hurley 48-yard line.
Hurley's hard-hitting defense played well enough in the first half to prevent Haysi from getting off to its usual fast start in the opening period. Once the Tigers got untracked, however, Bowen had his usual stellar night.
His 28-yard run set up his second TD, a four-yard burst around right end in the second period. The senior finished with 231 rushing yards on 24 carries.
"Hurley has a big line, a strong line and they played well, they played really well to begin with," Colley said. "They moved the ball on us and they drove down and scored. You've got to give them credit, they were ready to play."
Big plays have been the downfall of most Haysi opponents and Friday night was no exception. The Tigers finished with 404 yards of total offense.
"We got in a groove, moved the ball on them early and we slowed down them down at first," Hurley coach Greg Tester said.
"We just had some mistakes on our kickoff team and our punt return team and we gave them some big pays.
"But you've got to take your hats off to Haysi, they're an explosive team. They've got a lot of weapons and they can exploit you with them from anywhere on the field."
Haysi added a 15-yard touchdown run from Bowen and a 64-yard TD pass from Sykes to Bowen in the third quarter. Sykes was 5-of-8 passing for 158 yards.
at Smiley Ratliff Field at The Cliff
Haysi....................................12 16 16 0 — 44
Hurley......................................0 8 0 0 — 8
Hay - T. O'Quinn 38 pass from Sykes (kick failed)
Hay - T. O'Quinn 75 punt return (pass failed)
Hur - Gibson 1 run (Gibson run)
Hay - Bowen 1 run (Artrip pass from Sykes)
Hay - Bowen 4 run (Bowen run)
Hay - Bowen 15 run (Bowen run)
Hay - T. O'Quinn 64 pass from Sykes (Mullins pass from Sykes)
First Downs: Hay 20, Hur 6; Rushes-Yards: Hay 40-246, Hur 36-101; Passing Yards: Hay 158, Hur 12; Comp-Int-Att: Hay 5-8-1, Hur 3-10-0; Fumbles-Lost: Hay 2-0, Hur 2-1; Penalties-Yards: Hay 7-67, Hur 5-34; Punts-Average: Hay 4-26.8, Hur 0-0.