The Hayes household brings home another ring

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ARLINGTON -- Perhaps Tallon Hayes breathed a sigh of relief after Benjamin defeated Oglesby 82-34 in the 1A Division II State Championship. The junior was now tied with his older brother for two state titles.

"It's going to help me out a lot around the house," Tallon said. "It's good to be tied."

His father, Benjamin head coach Nathan Hayes, and older brother, Tristen, won back-to-back titles at Crowell in 2013 and 2014. Even after winning as a sophomore last season, Tallon knew he had more work to do to match what his family did all those years ago.

Benjamin's Grayson Rigdon was the star on Wednesday afternoon. The junior scored ten total touchdowns and broke the six-man football record for most career touchdowns at the UIL State Championships with 17. He was all over the field on defense, as well. Oglesby junior running back Kyler Fossett was sensational, finishing the game with 243 rushing yards and four touchdowns. But time and again Rigdon stopped him in crucial moments. First it was a solo tackle on Fossett on 4th-and-2 to allow Benjamin to get its first lead. Then, he made a highlight reel interception on a Fossett pass at the tail end of the second quarter. Up 76-34 in the middle of the third, Rigdon threw the dagger by forcing a Fossett fumble.

But Benjamin doesn't win Wednesday without Tallon and his brother, freshman Keegan. Tallon reeled in three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown, almost all coming in the second half as Benjamin extended its lead. And the lights didn't shine too bright for Keegan. The youngest Hayes was awarded the game's Defensive MVP award for racking up 14 tackles. He caught Rigdon's first of three touchdown passes, then closed out the second half, and later the game, with knockout blows to Oglesby. 

Hayes picked up a low snap as time expired in the second quarter and heaved a 60-yard TD to Rigdon, his only completion of the night. Then, he caught the touchdown pass in the third quarter which enacted the 45-point mercy rule.

The road to back-to-back was trying for Benjamin, who returned just two starters from its championship team last season. They also got every squad's best punch.

"We had that target on our back all year long," Nathan said. "I felt like our kids, we embraced that. We embraced the challenge of everyone calling us out a little bit. We know we had teams practicing 365 days for our game."

That's why Tallon's going to take a moment to soak it in before he gets back to work for a three-peat that will give him one more championship ring than his oldest brother.

"Let's enjoy this one first," Tallon said.

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