Big plays burst Tigers’ bubble
Hayden — Four big plays added up to one disappointing night Friday for the Hayden High School football team.
The Tigers seized the game’s momentum several different times and had two late, promising drives that could have won the game. Instead, visiting Justice made the most of its opportunities to knock off the Tigers 28-22.
“We were either way up or way down tonight,” coach Ryan Wilkie said. “It killed us early.”
Hayden, 1-1, got 171 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries from junior quarterback Garrett St. Clair, who delivered one of his best games in a Hayden uniform. At their best Friday, the Tigers rode St. Clair, who followed close behind his blockers when available and muscled his way through tackles when necessary.
He gained enough yards for a first down on third down 10 times and nothing showcased how hot he got better than one late-first half first-down conversion. He had a pass batted into the air, caught it himself, slipped a tackle and ran for the first down.
Still, that consistency — even with the occasional catch-your-own pass trick thrown in — didn’t match up to Justice’s big-play flash.
The Phoenix had a 14-0 lead after only four offensive plays.
Justice scored on the game’s first play, a 70-yard touchdown run from Abraham Dauphinais. Quarterback Julio Marquez then found Justine Hunyadi for a 57-yard touchdown pass three plays into the next drive.
Hayden coach Ryan Wilkie worried his team wasn’t prepared to play, its attention distracted this week by the death of 2016 Hayden graduate Kenneth Corriveau in a car accident.
Corriveau was remembered with a short ceremony before kickoff.
“That’s not an excuse,” Wilkie said. “The kids went through a lot this week, but the bottom line is we weren’t ready.” Hayden did find something after that early burst from Justice. With some help from running backs Christian Carson and Daylon Frentress and a big assist from the offensive line, St. Clair got rolling, scoring the team’s first touchdown.
The team got another huge bump when Peyton Spafford swooped in to block a Justice punt. He recovered the ball on the 3-yard line and St. Clair ran it in one play later to tie the score.
Two more huge plays doomed the Tigers. St. Clair was picked off late in the second quarter, one big mistake in a mostly non-existent passing attack. The ball was returned 45 yards to Hayden’s 5-yard line, setting up a Justice touchdown.
Then, after a long second-half Hayden drive again tied the game, Justice put it away with 26-yard fourth-down pass that set up the go-ahead touchdown. The Phoenix scored with only 90 seconds remaining.
Two big passes, a big run and an interception spoke louder than the Tigers could Friday. Hayden hits the road next week to play at South Park.
“We have to go in like this didn’t happen and play football like we know we can,” Carson said. “We’re better than this.”
Tigers volleyball game cancelled
The funeral service for Corriveau has led to Hayden’s home Saturday showdown against Paonia being cancelled.
No makeup date has been announced.
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