Hayden football battles injury, falls to Simla in state playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden football battles injury, falls to Simla in state playoffs

Senior quarterback Brayden Dale hands the ball off and watches his teammate, senior Sabyn Hager, take the ball to the house for a Tigers touchdown on Oct. 14, 2022. Advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2012, Hayden football met its match with a 48-0 loss to Simla on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat PIlot & Today

Coming into the 2022 season, Hayden football head coach Matt Linsacum instilled the “trust the process” methodology into his team. His boys narrowly missed the playoffs last season, and this year, his number one goal was to punch a ticket to the postseason. 

A strong 5-3 finish in the regular season did just that for the Tigers, who traveled to Simla for the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 5. 

Battling the injury bug and playing one of the strongest 8-man football teams in Colorado, Hayden fell 48-0 to close out the season. 

“On the overall aspect of it, one game does not define these guy’s season,” Linsacum said. “In the grand scheme of things we’re pretty proud of those guys for making it there. It’s the first time since 2012 that we’ve had a team in the playoffs.”

The Tigers dealt with injuries to several players during the game including seniors Brayden Dale and Kodi Ingols who were two of the top players on both sides of the ball all season long. 

The boys were never able to get into a rhythm offensively against a Cubs defense that held its opponents to just 69 total points in the entire regular season. 

After the game, Linsacum told his team just how proud of them he was. He stressed the importance of staying positive and being appreciative of all that has been accomplished. 

“You guys have played together for the last 10 years,” Linsacum told his team. “You cannot forget the good times and this wasn’t fun but you guys had a lot of good experiences and you start together and you did a lot of the things that we asked of you as a coaching staff. It’s just a matter of playing together and sticking together and focusing on the positives.”

The Tigers say goodbye to seven seniors who all made massive impacts on the team. Those seven players nearly make up an entire 8-man football team. 

One thing Linsacum stressed was how much he will miss those players next year but with a large junior class becoming seniors next year, he said there was no better group of guys for them to learn from. 

He expects big things for the future and sees this years senior class as a major stepping stone in making it to the top. 

“We’re pleased with how the guys played this whole season,” Linsacum said. “We were happy to have them and coach them up these last four years. They were a great group and it’s a bummer to see those guys go but for the next group, it’s their turn so they’ve got to start preparing for their season.”

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