Tigers drop opener | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers drop opener

Christine Metz

— The absence of three of Hayden’s offensive starters put an even more dismal spin on a rainy game opener against Moffat County’s J.V., which toppled the Tigers 32-12.

Freshman Riley Whiteman, regularly at fullback, stepped in for quarterback Kevin Miller, who was among the five players coach Kevin Kleckler placed on disciplinary action for Friday’s game.

The suspension of starters Jacques Denker (tailback) and Kelly Bruchez (tight end) also took a bite out of the Tigers’ offense.

Whiteman, who found out he would play quarterback late Thursday night, finished the game with 93 yards passing, including a strike to freshman Evan Hilling for a touchdown.

“I was very, very nervous,” Whiteman said. “I have no experience at all at that position.”

Whiteman’s touchdown pass came with seven minutes left in the game, the Tigers down by 18.

The touchdown was preceded by a sudden burst of passing from both Whiteman and Stephenson.

On his first completion of the night, Stephenson threw a 30-yarder to Danny Hayden. Then, Whiteman scrambled to the outside to launch a 12-yard pass to freshman Evan Hilling in the end zone.

Whiteman and Stephenson’s passing was a switch from the first half, which mainly had Stephenson rushing.

Stephenson, who lead the team with 89 rushing yards, was able to get past the Bulldogs’ defense for a 68-yard touchdown on the Tigers first offensive drive.

But that was all the offense the Tigers could muster with sacks, penalties and fumbles a constant theme of the game. The Tigers finished with six penalties for 55 yards and three turnovers.

One of the Tigers’ shakier moments came in the second quarter when they where preparing to punt but a high snap caused Stephenson to nab the ball in the end zone, then throw it out to offensive lineman Tanner Copeland who ran it to the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line.

Stephenson’s pass was no good because of a penalty. That gave the ball to the Bulldogs, which quickly lead to a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Junior Bulldog Eric Bastow ran in the 10-yard touchdown, one of the four he made for the team.

Quarterback Aaron Sanchez followed it up with the conversion.

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