Hayden football team meets No. 1 Yuma today
Tough game an enormous opportunity for the Tigers
If you go
What: No. 10 Hayden football (1-0) vs. No. 1 Yuma (1-0)
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Idaho Springs
Steamboat Springs — It’s games like these when coaches look for any sort of small advantage.
Tasked with playing Class 1A’s No. 1 team, Yuma, at 1 p.m. today in Idaho Springs, Hayden High School football coach Shawn Baumgartner may not have to look far to find those.
Hayden has been here before. In the past four years, Hayden met the “it” team in the playoffs. First, it was Limon and then Akron. Both at the time were No. 1 and on double-digit winning streaks.
The other advantage, while slight, is that today will be the second consecutive week Hayden will have played in Idaho Springs. Last week, Hayden beat Holyoke, 30-8, in Idaho Springs.
But maybe the biggest thing, Baumgartner said, is one of the simplest things in life.
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“Have confidence in yourself,” Baumgartner said. “We’ve been talking to the kids about it. This is a great opportunity and great chance. You have to live in the moment. What it comes down to really is you have to match or even exceed their discipline and intensity.”
Yuma is certainly the best opponent Hayden has seen in two seasons.
The Indians won a state title in 2009 with one of the more dominating seasons to date, downing Akron, 14-12, in the state championship game.
The team opened this season with a 27-12 win against Caliche in Zero Week. The Indians return 12 starters from last year’s team, including Austin Traphagen, a 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound lineman drawing interest from several Division I schools.
Yuma runs its offense out of the double wing formation, using a mix of misdirection plays and play action passes.
Hayden was stout in its opening game, allowing just 145 yards of offense.
Baumgartner knows the perpetual thought across the state will be that Yuma should roll, maybe even looking at next week’s game against Lyons.
But this is a golden opportunity for Hayden to make a statement to the rest of 1A that the Tigers are fit for a run this season.
“We’re definitely talking to the kids through the week that it’s Yuma,” he said. “We’ve talked from the summer with them that if you want to compete and be considered a championship-caliber team, you have to play the top-caliber teams. This is that opportunity.”
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The Longevity Project event, sponsored by Steamboat Pilot & Today, has shifted from in-person to virtual. The keynote speaker Kevin Hines contracted COVID-19, and he will now be presenting his talk remotely.