Routt showdown promises emotion |

Routt showdown promises emotion

Hayden football coach Shawn Baumgartner is expecting plenty of emotion and intensity in tonight’s homecoming game against Soroco — but not a lot of surprises.

“We’ve seen them three times this year,” Baumgartner said. “That’s more than any other team we’ve scouted.”

Baumgartner said the keys to beating the Rams include shutting down the team’s potent running game and forcing quarterback Kory Babcock to throw the ball downfield.

The Hayden players also will have to find a way to break through the Rams’ defense, which has stumped several powerful opponents this season, including Rangely last week.

“My players have been very focused this week,'” Baumgartner said. “I think we all know how big a game this is.”

The game, which will be Hayden’s final home appearance of the season, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hayden High School.

Soroco coach Gary Heide said he also has had plenty of chances to scout Hayden this season and is expecting a hard-fought game, despite the Tiger’s 0-5 league record.

While the game will have little impact on the top of the Western Slope 1A standings — both Hayden and Soroco are out of the running for a league title — it does have significant importance in Routt County.

“Sure my players want to beat Hayden,'” Heide said. “They beat us in our homecoming game last year, and a few of the players still remember that. This is a game they want to win.”

It’s also a chance for the Rams, 1-4 in the league and 3-4 overall, to separate themselves from the bottom half of the league.

The Tigers, 2-5 overall, are in search of the first league win of the season. A win today would give the Tigers the same record as the Rams.

Despite the Tigers’ lack of success in the league this season, Heide and the Rams are not taking the game lightly.

“They have a lot of talented players who are capable of breaking a lot of big plays,” Heide said. “If we don’t shut down the big play, we will be in trouble.”

The Rams held Rangely, 4-1 and contending for the league title, to just 66 yards last week, but a punt return for a touchdown gave the Panthers the edge they needed to escape with a 7-6 win.

Heide wants to make sure his team doesn’t let a play like that bite them this week in Hayden.

— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail

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