By Jimmy Stinson
MOUNDS – It wasn’t pretty, but for the first time in eight years, the Haskell Haymakers have punched their ticket to the postseason with a 28-6 victory against the Mounds Golden Eagles here Friday night.
Haskell will have a season of more than 10 games for the first time since 2004.
The fourth-place team out of District 2A-5, the Haymakers (3-3, 7-3) travel to play the top-ranked Vian Wolverines next Friday.
The first half of Haskell-Mounds was full of intensity and mistakes from both squads.
“We knew coming in that this game meant something to both teams,” Haskell coach Greg Wilson said. “We both had something to play for and our kids stepped up and made some plays.”
With nine minutes left in the fourth quarter and Haskell leading 14-6, the Haymakers relied on their running attack to put away the Golden Eagles (1-5, 3-7) for good.
A steady dose of junior running back Jordan Presley did the trick.
Carrying the ball seven times, including five in a row to start the drive, Presley helped keep the clock running.
The drive started at the Haskell 11-yard line and took 6:39 off the clock. Presley was not to be denied as he racked up 54 yards on the drive, capping it off with a 17 yard scamper for the score. And with the two-point conversion pass from Alex Wheeland to Jacob Crowe, the Haymakers led 20-6.
“It was hit or be hit and I get stronger as the game goes on,” Presley said. “My line blocked and we ran hard.”
Haskell controlled the ball for much of the first half, but could not get in sync on their first two drives. The third drive proved fruitful after a Golden Eagle punt. Haskell was able to go 34 yards with Presley diving in from a yard out. The extra point failed and the Haymakers had 6-0 lead.
After a Haymaker fumble, Mounds was able to find the end zone on a 64-yard toss from quarterback Shane Milam to Austin Baker, tying the game at 6-6.
The two teams traded fumbles. The Haymakers took over at the Mounds 31, only to give the ball back on an interception.
On Haskell's next possession, Brody Enkey took over at quarterback for starter Alex Wheeland and directed the offense on a 36-yard drive that ended with Wheeland scoring on a five-yard scamper. Presley added the two-point conversion and the Haymakers led, 14-6.
“It’s good to have players that can do lots of things,” Wilson said. “We are able to put Enkey in and move Alex (Wheeland) to tailback and give Presley a break.”
Haskell was set to receive the second half kickoff but found itself asleep. Mounds had an onside kick and recovered at the Haskell 46- yard line. That drive was short-lived as Britt Williams stepped in front of a Mounds receiver and picked off the Milam’s pass.
The final drive for the Haymakers ended when Williams rambled 55 yards for a score.
Presley led the rushing attack for Haskell picking up 125 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Williams added 81 yards on four carries and a touchdown while Wheeland added 74 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.