Hayden seeks winning record | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden seeks winning record

Tigers to face beaten-down West Grand tonight

Not only was the Hayden football team’s 26-25 loss last week to Meeker heartbreaking, it also was dream-crushing. The loss virtually eliminated any chance the Tigers had at advancing to this season’s playoffs.

It was enough to leave the high school squad in a sour mood all weekend and removes any drama from the 7 p.m. matchup today at home against West Grand, the Tigers’ last game of the season.

None of that has West Grand coach Chris Brown worried about his prediction for the game. Both teams, 4-4, will enter playing for a winning record, and Brown wasted no time saying who he thought would rise up for that fifth win.

“We have no chance,” the veteran coach from Kremmling said. “It might be 60-0 by half, if Hayden wants it to be.”

To the Tigers’ credit, they don’t plan to take any chances. A winning record, even in a disappointing season, is something worth playing for, Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said.

The Tigers lost last week after failing to convert on a pair of two-point conversions, including one late in the fourth quarter. Meeker proved just good enough with a series of big plays and a strong offensive presence in the second and third quarters.

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Hayden had a potentially season-saving, goal-line stand late in the game, then got a 90-yard run from Logan Foster to set up a key touchdown. The team failed to add two more points with a fake extra point, however.

Baumgartner said his team would have to put the brakes on any big offensive plays to prevail against West Grand. He also said he might shy away from attempting another two-point conversion.

“Last week was a hard loss. It was tough on all of us,” he said. “But we still have one more game and a chance to go out on top. We’ve been telling them, especially the seniors, to have fun with it and play as hard as they can and leave it all on the field.”

West Grand and Hayden have combined to lose seven of their past eight games. Still, it’s the Mustangs that enter the game with far more problems, Brown said.

The coach said his squad is in line to finish last in its league for the first time in his 28 years at the school. It entered the season with scant varsity experience and will be even more depleted after a 40-20 loss to Rangely.

The team will be without much of its senior class, suspended for the final week of the season.

“We will start a couple freshmen and seven sophomores, few who have been playing varsity,” Brown said. “Our younger kids are ready to play, but the older kids are ready to be done. We have quite a few seniors who won’t be there.

“It could get ugly fast.”

The Tigers can only hope a winning season is that simple.

If you go

What: Hayden football (4-4, 1-3) vs. West Grand (4-4, 0-4)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Hayden High School