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Teams look forward to festivities

Melinda Mawdsley

— Boys will be boys.

During Homecoming week in Hayden, however, sometimes they will be girls.

Wednesday morning sophomore Evan Hilling joined his teammates in their locker room to get ready for school. He planned to get up early, but he missed the alarm, so he grabbed his lipstick, eye shadow and sister’s black dress and spandex to wear under it and left the house to meet his friends.

“This year we’ve shown a lot more school spirit,” Hilling said. “We had a lot more players that got into it.”

Wednesday boys dress as girls and girls dress as boys was just one of five dress-up days set aside during one of the biggest weeks of the year, not just at the school cloaked in streamers and posters, but in the town of Hayden.

Volleyball coach Kipp Rillos acknowledges that Homecoming in Hayden is a big deal. Many of the local residents often show up in bunches to catch the volleyball and football games.

This year the Tigers volleyball teams will play at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. leading into the 7:30 p.m. football game against Grand Valley at Hayden Field.

“Scheduling both on the same day helps,” Rillos said. “The parents and the community are very active in a small town for Homecoming.”

Winning on Homecoming is symbolically important to the players and coaches, but there is added significance to the games against Grand Valley this year. The volleyball team is jockeying for a playoff position against teams like the Cardinals. The football team is seeking its first league victory.

Both have legitimate shots of winning.

“If we play disciplined, aggressive football there’s a 100 percent chance we can come out on top,” quarterback Kelly Bruchez said.

The problem with the Tigers lately, however, has been the if. Turnovers and penalties played a crucial role in their Sept. 21 loss to Plateau Valley, and giveaways certainly didn’t help against a talented Meeker squad on Sept. 27.

Hilling said, however, there’s been an increased level of concentration this week, and Homecoming may have come at a perfect time.

“That’s what we’re really focused on,” Hilling said. “It’s all building up for us (tonight) and we have to work hard and stay focused.”

Grand Valley enters tonight’s football contest with a 3-2 record overall, but a 1-2 record in league play. The win came against Soroco on Sept. 13. Parker said the Cardinals look solid on tape, but he is hoping to feed off the emotion around the school and use it to the Tigers’ advantage.

“It’s definitely the biggest game of the year,” Parker said. “The kids know that we haven’t won a league game. We’ve played good at times, but we’ve also made mistakes. … (Grand Valley) looks like a solid opponent, and we’ll have to play well and limit our mistakes to beat them.”

To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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