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Hy-Vee Athlete of the Week: Hayden Jay gets 4-peat

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Posted at 9:25 AM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 10:25:48-05

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Surprisingly, there were two quarterbacks wearing No. 2 in the Kansas 5A State Championship football game on Saturday in Pittsburg.

"This one holds a special place in my heart," said Mill Valley quarterback Hayden Jay.

Jay, wearing No. 2 for the Jaguars, starred in Mill Valley's 28-14 win over Maize, throwing for 189 yards and three touchdowns. He outplayed Maize's No. 2, four-star quarterback Avery Johnson, who is committed to playing at Kansas State University next season.

"Throughout the regular season, we ran the ball really well," Jay said. "So there wasn't really a need to throw the ball a whole lot. In the state championship game, Maize did a really good job of stopping the run.

"They prepared well, and so it opened up opportunities for us to throw the ball."

Jay struck for two big scores at the end of the first half — a 69-yard TD pass to Preston Oliver to put Mill Valley up 14-7 with 2:13 left and a 56-yard strike to Davion Harris with 0:39 on the clock to give the Jaguars a 21-7 lead at the break.

"He made a few plays that were just, obviously, really huge game-changers for us," said Mill Valley head coach Joel Applebee, who is now 6-0 in state championship games.

The Jags' offense finished the season averaging 47 points per game. But it was the Mill Valley defense that threatened historic levels by allowing just 64 points all season — an opponent average of just 4.9 points per game.

"They're the best defense in the state," Jay said. "Maybe the best defense in Kansas history."

For Jay and his senior teammates, four state titles in a row means they have a ring for every year of high school.

"[It's] finally starting to sink in," Jay said. "You're kind of realizing, man, we went our whole high school career without losing a playoff game."

Jay was awarded this week's Hy-Vee High School Athlete of the Week award.