Through the eyes of the team manager: Hayden Tigers fall to Rangely Panthers 58-12 | SteamboatToday.com

Through the eyes of the team manager: Hayden Tigers fall to Rangely Panthers 58-12

Hayden senior Patrick Hunter runs 78 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt against Rangely on Friday, Oct. 5 at Hayden High School.

HAYDEN — Hayden Tigers freshman team manager Dustin Day peered from the press box, guiding a small camera across the field as the teams battled below him.

The Hayden Tigers (2-3,1-2) were playing the Rangely Panthers (4-1,1-1) and, for a while, it looked close. But the Panthers took full control before the second half, grabbing a 58-12 victory.

Day turned to a reporter in the box, "You know we lost our homecoming game last week? I worked so hard that week."

Rangely drove down the field for a quick touchdown 8-0, but senior Tiger Patrick Hunter charged up the middle to make it 8-6.

The Panthers played an aggressive passing game, nailing the same targets every time. The first quarter ended with a Rangely touchdown pass being called back. But junior Tytus Coombs caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to keep the Panthers ahead at the beginning of the second quarter. Senior Devin Ramirez caught the two-point conversion to make it 16-6.

Day, wearing a thin camouflage hoodie and pair of grey gloves, shook his head in the cold. A kid from Rangely bouncing around the press box asked him and the Rangely team manager questions about their cameras.

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Day entertained the kid, answering his questions while moving the camera, though he did try to get him to be quiet for the recording.

"I used to play, but I decided not to this year," Day said. "Coach asked me, 'Why aren't you playing football?' I just said, 'I don't know.'"

The Tigers struggled on their next drive to move the ball forward, but they took their chances on 4th and 14. Hunter faked a punt, then zig-zagged up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown run. Without the two-point conversion, the Tigers trailed 16-12.

Hayden junior Garrett Salazar celebrates a Tigers’ touchdown against Rangely from the sideline on Friday, Oct. 5 at Hayden High School.

But that was as close as it would get.

Just when the Tigers thought they could hold the Panthers, the Panthers passed to Ramirez for a touchdown on 3rd and 11. He ran 35 yards for a touchdown and made the two-point conversion for a 22-12 score.

The Panthers added two more touchdowns before closing the half 38-12.

Day wore a look of ambivalence. This was going to be the Tigers' third straight loss.

"Gives me something to do, instead of just sit at the house," Day said. "Coach just told me I should."

The passing game continued to burn the Tigers' defense in the second half. Screen passes to the right were run downfield, and there was too much time for freshman quarterback Keihlin Myers to throw deep balls down the center.

Freshman Dylan Zimmerman carried the ball for the Tigers in the second half. Day noted that he's a junior varsity player, normally, but he seemed to be moving the Tigers' offense.

He analyzed the game, something that comes naturally when you watch the same team every week.

As the clock ran down, Day relaxed, sitting on the table behind him. He needed the Rangely child tugging at his hoodie to be quiet for five more minutes, he said.

Keeping film is one part of his job. Other days he'll carry the water, or even manage other teams.

As the clock ran down, Day packed up his camera. The Tigers huddled at the left end of the field.

"At least this isn't our worst game." Day said, packing up his camera.

Freshman team manager Dustin Day films the Hayden Tigers on Friday, Oct. 5 at Hayden High School.

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports

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