Hayden slays Goliath
Tigers defeat larger Dolores squad, 21-6
Palisade — The numbers are gaudy.
From the second quarter to the end of Hayden’s 21-6 win over Dolores, the Tigers had the ball for more than 30 minutes and limited the Bears to 17 offensive plays, including just 10 in the second half.
In that stretch, Hayden put together touchdown drives of 15 and 20 plays that consumed more than 18 minutes of the clock.
“Offensively, we did a great job of just pounding it down the field. We really used up the clock,” Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. “Our offense might have been our best defense today.”
In fact, the defense was pretty darn good too.
After Dolores scored on its first drive of the game to make it 6-0, the Tigers gave up only three more first downs the rest of the game. They also caused two fumbles and picked off a pass.
Every time the defense made a big play the offense would answer. After forcing a turnover on downs in the second quarter, the Tigers methodically moved the ball down the field before Coy Letlow took the ball over the left side and scored from five yards out. The point after made it 7-0.
On Hayden’s next possession, it put together a 20-play drive, capped off by Brandon Ford’s score from one yard out.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dolores fumbled and the Tigers capitalized when quarterback Mitchel Doolin hooked up with Russell Waugh from four yards out.
“It was just pounding down the field. No big plays, really,” said Letlow, who had a season-high 35 carries for 117 yards. “Turnovers gave us the momentum, mainly.”
It was an especially sweet victory for the Tigers, who were bounced from the playoffs in the first round last year by the same Dolores team.
“This one is good – it’s rewarding,” Baumgartner said.
On paper, it originally looked like the Tigers would be outmatched. Dolores boasted a massive defensive line, even outweighing some of the Tigers offensive lineman by more than 100 pounds.
Still, the Tigers were able to successfully move the ball against the bigger, more experienced Bear team.
“We were so outmanned up front,” Baumgartner said. “Those kids, they just find a way. They dig down and find a way and we’ve started to wear teams out in the fourth quarter the last couple of weeks. It’s their heart that wears them out, not our size.”
The only bad thing for Hayden happened midway through the third quarter when senior Dave Gullett caught a pass and was hit from behind.
After remaining down for more than 20 minutes, Gullett was carted off in an ambulance. Hayden athletic Director Kevin Kleckler said Gullett had movement in all of his body, but was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
With a Friday game against Soroco, Baumgartner said the Tigers will continue their business-like approach and get ready for “a tough” Rams team.
“Soroco is a huge rival for us,” he said. “We can’t rest on this one. We got to go and play another game like this because Soroco is a good team.”
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