Hayden hosts Soroco tonight for homecoming | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden hosts Soroco tonight for homecoming

Dave Shively

— Coach Shawn Baumgartner doesn’t need to say much to the boys on the Hayden High School football team heading into tonight’s homecoming game with the Soroco Rams.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Hayden High School.

“Our focus is all on Soroco – it has always been one of those games, regardless of where the teams are at, because of the rivalry,” Baumgartner said.

This year, the teams are coming from two very different standings in the Class 1A Western Slope League.

Hayden (4-1 overall and 1-1 in league) returns a healthy team from last week, where its high-octane offense finally had a breakthrough performance in a 43-0 rout against Dolores. The win put the Tigers back in the Rocky Mountain News’ statewide top 10, at No. 9.

But Soroco (1-4 overall and 0-3 in league) lost three starters last week, including the wide receiving tandem of Alex Estes and Robert Anderson and lineman Gage Achtner, in a tough 50-8 loss at Paonia.

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Both coaches believe their teams are now playing their best football of the season.

“Offensively in the first quarter, we played and moved the ball well, the offense was timing things better and overall it was the best we’ve played,” Soroco head coach David Bruner said.

But with his young ranks depleted by injuries, Bruner will only be able to suit up 15 players tonight, more than half of them freshmen.

“My playbook is really going to be minimalized, so we’ll do what we can with what we’ve got,” Bruner said.

What Soroco must do is stop the run. In last year’s match-up, a 28-0 Hayden victory, the Tigers put up nearly 400 yards of offense while limiting the Rams to less than 100.

“If we can stop the run and make them throw it, it will give us a chance,” Bruner said. “All the kids are fired up though and ready for the game, so hopefully, we can go out and play well.”

Balancing rushing carries between Coy Letlow, Russ Waugh, Aaron Haskins and Zathan Bark, Baumgartner hopes the Tigers can continue to focus on executing their plays and concentrating on individual assignments.

While the football game is kicking off outside Hayden High School tonight, an intense cross-county volleyball game is sure to be going to a tiebreaker inside – that is, if the Tigers-Rams rematch looks anything like their first meeting.

On Sept. 7 match, Soroco and Hayden volleyball kicked off District 5 play in a back-and-forth, heated five-game match in Oak Creek. The Rams eventually pulled away with solid play from Amanda Wilson, who led her team with 14 kills. Hayden returns to a home court where it notched some important points in the district standings with a win against Paonia, and Soroco is coming off a loss to North Park on Thursday night. North Park won in five, 26-28, 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9.

Tonight’s volleyball match starts at 6 p.m. in the Hayden gymnasium.