‘The rest is history’: Hayden athlete set to play football at the next level

Hayden senior Kodi Ingols signs with Fort Lewis College and celebrates surrounded by his teammates at Hayden high school on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

In the United States, only 7.3% of high school football players reach a collegiate gridiron, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Hayden football will add to that statistic in the fall as senior Kodi Ingols heads to Fort Lewis College.

Ingols was a major component of Hayden’s success in football in the 2022 season and led the team in touchdowns, receiving yards and tackles, making him the most imposing player on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. 

Ingols said it was a process to get college offers in a small town, but he fell in love with Fort Lewis quickly. 

“During the season, we were reaching out to coaches and it didn’t go too well,” Ingols said. “Then Fort Lewis came along and the coach from there came and visited and I loved him. He’s a good dude.”

The Fort Lewis Skyhawks football team competes at the Division II level in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The team has struggled in recent seasons, going 0-10 in 2022, but Ingols sees that as a way to create something special in southwest Colorado. 

Ingols will play cornerback for the team and hopes to take on a leadership role to help turn the program around in a similar way that he did with Hayden.

Ingols credits his family for helping him get this far, especially his mother Kris, father Eric and sister Allison. They are confident he will rise to the occasion and accomplish everything he hopes at Fort Lewis. 

“He is just naturally talented,” Kris said. “If it’s academics, he’ll succeed. If it’s basketball he’ll succeed. If it’s track he’ll succeed. He has to work hard to be that person. You can reach your dreams by digging deep and climbing a mountain one step at a time.”

Donning a Fort Lewis College t-shirt, Hayden senior Kodi Ingols commits to playing cornerback for the school’s football program this fall.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Beyond his family, Ingols emphasized his appreciation to his coaches over the years, especially Hayden’s head football coach Matt Linsacum. 

Ingols was unsure if he would continue with the football team in his junior year but Linsacum and his teammates knew the kind of player he was and went through the extra effort to keep his love for football alive. 

“We kidnapped him one night and I told him we were going to go on a drive,” Linsacum said. “I had his teammates that he has been with since third grade at the football field and we chatted with him. We told him what he means to the team and what he’d be missing out on. He agreed to play right there and the rest is history.”

On top of being a stud on the field, Ingols is a member of the National Honors Society and made the honor roll with a GPA over 3.75 in the first semester of the 2022-23 school year. 

Ingols will be studying either kinesiology or business management in college and cannot wait to get on the field with his new Skyhawk family in the fall. 

“There’s going to be a big learning curve coming from a small town when you’re up there,” Ingols said. “When you go to college everyone there is legit, so you’ve got to just find your place and do what you can.”

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