Hayden football to host Merino in season opener Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden football to host Merino in season opener Saturday

Austin Colbert
Hayden High School senior quarterback Garrett Camilletti runs through drills during practice Friday. The Tigers open their season Saturday against Merino in Hayden.
Austin Colbert

Hayden Football Schedule

Sept. 5 (Sat) vs. Merino, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 12 (Sat) at Day Spring Christian (Greeley), 1 p.m.

Sept. 26 (Sat) at Justice (Recht Field, Boulder), 2 p.m.

Oct. 2 (Fri) at Rangely, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 (Fri) vs. West Grand, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 (Fri) vs Plateu Valley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 24 (Sat) at Norwood, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 (Fri) vs. Soroco, 7 p.m.

— Ryan Wilkie didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for his first practice as head coach of the Hayden High School football team. Only a few days before the start of fall practice, then-head coach Shawn Baumgartner decided to step down after 12 seasons, and Wilkie was thrust into the lead role.

“The role is not new, but it’s new here, and we are excited,” said Wilkie, a former head coach at Class 1A Calhan High School. “We came in and did the best we could as quick as we could, and we are moving forward.”

Wilkie spent two years in Hayden before moving away in 2006. He returned in 2011 and has served as an assistant with the football team, while his wife, Michelle, is head girls’ basketball coach.

With Wilkie now in charge of the Tigers’ 8-man football team, Hayden hopes to get his return to head coaching off to a good start Saturday when it opens the season against Merino at 1:30 p.m. in Hayden. The Tigers, coming off a 4-5 season, lost 59-6 at Merino in the season opener last year.

“We are going to give it our all and see what happens,” said senior quarterback and linebacker Garrett Camilletti. “I think we were lethargic last year and didn’t give it our all. We have a lot more kids this year and are excited for the opportunity.”

Wilkie said the team has grown in numbers, with 32 out for football this fall. Of that number, only three are seniors and 13 are freshmen. However, the drive to work hard in practice is more noticeable this year, according to junior linebacker/guard Christian Carson.

“Last year, we had the speed, but we didn’t have the dedication and motivation. When times got hard, people kind of quit,” Carson said. “We have way more dedicated kids than we had last year, kids who are ready to play and ready to hit hard and fly around.”

Camilletti, the team’s only four-year starter, is the unquestioned leader of the team. Joining him as seniors are lineman Hunter Rummel, a wrestler playing football for the first time, and receiver/linebacker Judd Magee.

Friday’s practice, the final before their season opener, wasn’t the best, if you ask Wilkie. However, the overall optimism was clearly visible, and the Tigers think they have a lot better chance to stay with Merino than they did a season ago.

“I think we are doing great, to be honest. We are working hard. We got a lot of discipline,” Magee said. “We are a lot bigger than last year, and I think we are going to have a good chance to prove ourselves.”

Following Saturday’s opener, Hayden will travel to Dayspring Christian on Sept. 12. From there, the Tigers play games at Justice (Sept. 26) and Rangely (Oct. 2), before returning home for three of their final four games.

The home stretch includes West Grand (Oct. 10), Plateau Valley (Oct. 16), a road game at Norwood (Oct. 24) and senior day against Soroco on Oct. 30.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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