Dave Daubenmire doesn't do a lot of public speaking, but his soapbox is getting a workout.
"I've told everyone that will listen that you could watch football for 50 years and never see that again," the Fairfield Christian Academy (Lancaster, Ohio)
head coach said. "I've never seen someone dominate a game like that."
FCA senior Hayden Welch
(6-foot-2, 174 pounds) owns lofty credentials, but what the multi-talented triple-threat pulled off in a 59-18 win over Franklin Furnace Green last Friday is barely believable.
Welch became the 11th player in Ohio history to score more than 50 points in a game and just the second since 1973 when he slapped 53 on Green. Welch caught four touchdown passes, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, returned a punt for a touchdown, kicked a 40-yard field goal and added eight extra point kicks. He also had an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter nullified by penalty. Green entered the game 2-1.
"It was kind of like when you let your dog out in the yard and he just runs and runs because he's just happy to be outside," Daubenmire said. "That's what it was like. Hayden just ran and ran and had fun doing it. The way he dominated in so many ways was unbelievable."
In amassing 488 total yards, Welch scored seven of the 13 times he touched the ball. He caught 10 passes for 295 yards, returned two kickoffs 80 and 75 yards and returned a punt 38 yards.
"After the first (catch) I knew if Luke Johnson
kept getting me the ball I'd score," Welch said. "My confidence just kept building every time I touched the ball and I don't want to say I felt invincible, but I felt a lot looser."
Welch is used to huge numbers.
The third-oldest sibling and oldest boy in a family of 10 (he has five adopted brothers and sisters), Welch was named first team Division VI All-Ohio last year after catching 43 passes for 1,109 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had five interceptions and converted 51 of 53 PAT attempts.
A varsity starter since his freshman year in football, basketball (averaged 15 points per game last year) and baseball (hit .360), Welch has put a giant stamp on a program still in its infancy.
Playing its first varsity schedule in 2009, Fairfield Christian Academy went 0-8 in Welch's sophomore season. Last year the Knights did a complete 180, finishing the regular season 9-0 and making the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs. There they lost in the first round 28-0 to eight-time Ohio small school state champion Newark Catholic.
Hosting a home playoff game this year is the goal for FCA (currently 4-0) and Welch. The teams battles Notre Dame (Portsmouth, Ohio) on Saturday.
"Every time we go into a game people have to ask themselves, ‘What the heck are we going to do with No. 5?" Daubenmire said. "A lot of times he's the fastest kid on the field and it's our job to just get him the football and see what he can do."
Welch aspires to play college football and his versatility should enhance his value. Nearby Ohio University is in contact as are several Ohio NCAA D-II schools (Ashland, Urbana and Notre Dame College).
"I've been around long enough to know when a player is a player and he can play," Daubenmire said. "The only strike against him is that we're D-VI (Ohio's smallest classification) and there's a question about competition. But a 4.5 (40-yard dash) is a 4.5 no matter where you are and he can run and do so many things. Heck, I think he could be a D-I kicker."
Although he's hit from 50 yards in practice, Welch's 40-yard field goal against Green was the first for him and the program. Daubenmire doesn't believe in kicking field goals.
"The only reason we did it," the coach said, "was because it was the end of the second quarter and we had time for one more play. I figured why not."
Daubenmire took Welch out of the Green game at the end of the third quarter. The senior's only touch in the final 12 minutes was a kickoff return.
"Our reserves were in and (Green) scored," Welch said. "We don't really have a second team kickoff return team so I went back out. They kicked the ball and I caught it and hit a seam. But then I fumbled and the ball went about 10 yards in front of me but I was able to scoop it up and take off. I guess I got lucky."
Said Daubenmire: "That last kickoff return the ball hit the ground and he literally dribbled it a couple times and then scooped it up and took it the distance. My jaw just dropped.
"That night was really something to behold."