Into the unknown |

Into the unknown

Hayden, Coal Ridge have questions

— Despite weeks of practice and a scrimmage against some tough teams, Hayden head football coach Shawn Baumgartner admits there are still a lot of unknowns going into tonight’s game against Coal Ridge.

“This first game around will be a telltale sign of where will be,” he said.

If the scrimmage Aug. 25 was any indication, the Tigers should be able to move the ball on the ground. During scrimmages against Eagle Valley, Rifle and Roaring Fork – all teams at least a classification higher – Baumgartner said the Tigers’ running game shined. Other than that, he left he scrimmage with questions.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” he said. “Coming out of our scrimmage last week, I felt good about some of the things we did with our running game and play action pass. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move the ball on the ground. Defensively, we need to be able to control the line of scrimmage.”

Baumgartner didn’t exchange film with Coal Ridge, so he knows little about them. Because they knew very little about their opponent, the Tigers used the last week of practice to refine the offense and defense.

On Monday, they worked on offense and getting the packages correct. On Tuesday, they worked on defense, and on Wednesday, they had an intra-squad scrimmage. Tonight, they hope to put it all together.

“We feel like we’re ready to go,” linebacker Dave Gullett said. “We’re ready to hit someone else. We’re ready to see where we stand.”

Coal Ridge may have more questions than Hayden. This will be the inaugural year for varsity football at Coal Ridge. This year’s team has two juniors, and the rest are sophomores and freshmen. Coal Ridge coach Jim Hoffman said he expects to take his lumps in the first year of football but that it won’t be for a lack of effort.

“We’re very, very young and inexperienced,” he said. “We’re going to try to compete at every game.”

Last year, Hayden finished with a 7-3 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers lost nine seniors from last year’s team and returns only five starters. Still, Baumgartner thinks this team could surprise people. The first step starts tonight at Coal Ridge, he said.

“We held our own in the scrimmages and stayed pretty healthy,” Baumgartner said. “There are a lot of unknowns going into this game. We should find out where we stand.”

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