Hayden football can’t stop West Grand in home opener | SteamboatToday.com
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Hayden football can’t stop West Grand in home opener

Hayden senior Kyler Campbell tackles West Grand senior Rene Dominguez during a game on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Shelby Reardon

HAYDEN — The Hayden High School football team played under the lights on Tuesday. The extended break between games allowed the Tigers to make a drastic improvements over last week’s 52-6 loss. Hayden fell 44-26 to West Grand Tuesday night, but are undoubtedly on the right track.

In the season-opening loss to Mancos, senior Liam Frentress was the quarterback. When head coach Matt Linsacum decided Frentress would be stronger other places on the field, sophomore Brayden Dale stepped up.

“That was some rearranging that we did, not necessarily last minute, but kind of last minute. We were pleased with that. He’s a sophomore and he stepped up big time. He stepped up and filled some shoes we needed him to fill being a small, undersized sophomore.”

The young quarterback got tossed around at times, but was also quick on his feet and made accurate passes every single time he got the ball out of his hand.

Still, the Tigers (0-2) couldn’t keep up with the Mustangs’ (1-0) offense.

After West Grand went up 22-6 with a minute left in the first half, a Hayden coach stayed positive.“We need a good return,” he yelled.Hayden High School senior Hunter Slowik listened and responded.

The Tiger struggled to get his hands on the kick, but grabbed it from behind him and took off running. He dashed straight up the middle then veered right towards the near sideline. Running up the line, he had one obstacle between him and the goal line: West Grand senior Jakob Buller. Slowik slammed on the brakes right before running into the Mustang safety, who then flew clear past the Tiger and out of bounds.

Slowik turned on the gas once more until his feet found the end zone.“I just saw him coming in hard,” said Slowik.

Hayden senior Wyatt Murphy blocks for senior Kylen Campbell during a game against West Grand on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Shelby Reardon

“So I knew I could have a good chance of juking him and coming back inside because he’s going to carry going (out of bounds). I just knew in my head what to do. It was kind of instinct.”

Hayden couldn’t carry the momentum into the third, though. A few huge runs from Frentress got the Tigers close to another touchdown, but the Mustangs cracked down and forced a punt. That’s when the field seemed to tilt.

Hayden senior Dustin McLaughlin makes a tackle during a game against West Grand on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Shelby Reardon

A 50-plus yard run from West Grand quarterback Jakob Buller put Rene Dominguez on the doorstep for the Mustangs fourth score of the game with 6:34 left in the third.

Four minutes later, a 46-yard sprint by Dominguez put the Mustangs up 36-0 with 2:26 left in the third.

“The momentum shifted a little bit,” said Slowik. “Then we struggled to get it back through the game, but I think we showed up.”

Hayden football schedule

Oct. 9 – Hayden at Mancos, L 52-6
Oct. 20 – West Grand at Hayden, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 – Vail Christian at Hayden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 – Hayden at Rangely, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 – Gilpin County at Hayden, 7 p.m.
Nov. 13 – Hayden at Soroco, 7 p.m.

Slowik stepped up again in fourth, running 22 yards for a touchdown with 10 minutes to play. The conversion was no good, so the deficit sat at 18 points. Another 20-yard run brought the Tigers to the 10-yard line with a little over two minutes to play. Two plays later, Frentress ran the rest of the way for the touchdown.

The Tigers play at home again on Saturday against Vail Christian.

“We’re not planning on changing up anything,” said Linsacum. “We’re just planning on fixing the little mistakes we shot ourselves in the foot with and going from there.”

West Grand 44, Hayden 26
WG 8 14 14 8 – 44
H 6 6 0 14 – 26
First quarter
WG – Jakob Buller 7 rush, Rene Dominguez rush, 6:38 
H – Liam Frentress 48 rush, conversion no good, 2:18
Second quarter
WG – Jesus Dominguez 20 rush, conversion no good, 6:24
WG – J. Dominguez 10 rush, Buller rush, 1:04
H – Hunter Slowik kick return, conversion no good, 49.1
Third quarter
WG – R. Dominguez 1 rush, R. Dominguez rush, 6:34
WG – R. Dominguez 46 rush, conversion no good, 2:26 
Fourth quarter
H – Slowik 22 run, conversion no good, 10:15
WG – R. Dominguez 3 rush, 6:12
H – Frentress 10 rush, Slowik pass from Brayden Dale, 1:12

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.


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