Tigers stumped on senior night
Hayden — The Hayden High School football team couldn’t score when it got close, but it didn’t get close often enough for that to matter in Friday’s senior night home game against Gilpin County.
Gilpin relied on big plays from its stable of big running backs, and it added up to a big loss for the Tigers, 36-0.
The game gives the Eagles a leg up on Hayden in the race for third place in the 8-man Northwest league and drops the Tigers’ record to 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in league play.
Hayden said goodbye to three seniors Friday night, Peyton Spafford, Tyler Boyer and Christian Carson.
It may not go down as the fondest memory for those Tigers.
The first two drives of the game summed the rest up fairly well.
Hayden took the first possession and marched 45 yards in eight plays, down to the 18-yard line. The drive ended with a fourth-down fumble, however, leaving the team empty handed.
“We just got nervous and choked up,” said Boyer, who logged 36 of those yards rushing on the drive. “Our team played hard, but that was a good team we played.”
Gilpin proved considerably more efficient, scoring its first touchdown on its first offensive play. Senior Matthew Immordino burst around the left side of the line and streaked 77 yards for a 6-0 lead.
He actually nearly did the same thing on the next possession too, taking the first play — his team’s second offensive snap of the game — 54 yards before a shoestring tackle saved the score. He finished the night with 172 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just seven carries. He added another touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Austin Boulter.
Hayden managed to string together several long drives and twice pushed into the red zone. It couldn’t score, however, and Gilpin’s physical offense consistently generated such big plays. The Eagles also got a rushing touchdown from Boulter and one last score on a fumble return by Jaime Alexander.
“They’re a good, physical football team,” Hayden coach Ryan Willkie said. “We’ve got to quit making mistakes. The thing about 8-man is it puts kids one-on-one, and we’re losing those one-on-one battles.”
Next up for the Tigers is a trip next week to play at Plateau Valley.
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As Steamboat Springs and Routt County ease out of the pandemic, I’m thrilled to see a full slate of community events on the calendar in the coming months.