Tigers football looks to rebound after losses | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers football looks to rebound after losses

Luke Graham

— Hayden football coach Shawn Baumgartner knows it takes only one game to turn around a season. The Tigers hope the game comes today against Rangely.

Hayden’s young and inexperienced team is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Today’s league showdown begins at 7:30 p.m. in Rangely.

“It’s felt just like the last three games come down to execution on both sides of the ball,” Baumgartner said. “It’s finding a way play after play to find that consistency.”

Maybe the best cure for an inconsistent Hayden team (2-3 overall, 0-1 in Class 1A Western Slope League play) could be the struggling Rangely team.

The Panthers are 1-4 overall, their lone win coming against a junior varsity team. For comparison, Rangely lost, 32-6, to Coal Ridge this season, while Hayden beat Coal Ridge, 13-7.

Still, Baumgartner isn’t taking anything for granted. He’s not as interested in winning as he is in seeing his young team mature.

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The Tigers haven’t been bad, they just haven’t taken advantage of their opportunities.

Consider last week’s 20-0 loss against Paonia. Hayden had more than 350 yards of total offense but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers gave up too many big plays.

Hayden still has a goal of earning a playoff berth, making today’s game that much more crucial.

“It’s as close (to a must-win) as you get at this time of year,” Baumgartner said. “Drop two conference games in a row and it’s tough to come back.”

The key, Baumgartner said, might be to score quickly and not look back. He said he’d like to see consistency from his offense and get a few quick scores. Defensively, he said, it’s just a matter of everyone doing his job.

And despite the last three games, Baumgartner reiterated there is still a lot of the season to play.

“We’re not out of this by any means,” he said. “It’s one conference game. We’ve got some real big games coming up the next few weeks. We definitely have a chance to bounce back here.”

If you go

What: Hayden at Rangely football

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Rangely High School