‘Lack of effort:’ Hayden gets frustrated in loss to Vail Christian

Vail Christian junior Leo Rothenberg slams Hayden High School sophomore quarterback Brayden Dale out of bounds during a game on Saturday, Oct. 24.

HAYDEN — Down 14-0 to Vail Christian after one quarter, the Hayden High School football team was already defeated.

The players’ body language indicated the game was far worse than it was. The boys in black on the field often shrugged and motioned in frustration. Those on the sideline were eerily quiet.

Hayden never quite got its confidence back as the Saints won 28-6 on Saturday evening.

“Lack of effort,” was senior Wyatt Murphy’s simple explanation.

The game never totally got away from the Tigers, but they felt as if they were out of it early because of the flags thrown their way after nearly every play.

Holding. False start. Illegal forward pass.

Even good things didn’t last for long. Sophomore Cody Hawn recovered a fumble, but on the next play, Vail Christian forced a fumble and got the ball back.

The Saints were knocking on the doorstep and as a Tiger tackled the ball carrier, the ball got loose. Vail Christian was able to get it back though, setting up a touchdown run by sophomore Taylor Shull.

That brought the score to 28-0 with just under four minutes left in the third.

Hayden hinted at a comeback.

Runs from seniors Liam Frentress, Hunter Slowik and sophomore quarterback Brayden Dale earned first downs and put the Tigers within 20 yards of a score. On his next run, Dale dropped the ball, halting the Hayden drive and giving the Saints the ball.

Albeit with more penalties, the Tigers prevented the Saints from scoring again and got the ball back. Frentress forced a fumble, and senior Andrew Klecker threw himself on top of the ball, giving Hayden the ball with 9:30 to play.

Slowik caught a bullet up the middle from Dale, earning a new set of downs. Next, Dale avoided a tackle with ease, finding Slowik again for a positive gain.

Senior Wyatt Murphy peeled up the sideline off the next whistle, gaining a few yards on his Vail Christian defender. When the ball left Dale’s hands, it was clearly on target. Murphy gathered the ball to his chest and ran the rest of the way for a 47-yard touchdown reception.

Hayden football schedule

Oct. 9 – Hayden at Mancos, L 52-6

Oct. 20 – West Grand at Hayden, L 44-26

Oct. 24 – Vail Christian at Hayden, L 28-6

Oct. 30 – Hayden at Rangely, 7 p.m.

Nov. 6 – Gilpin County at Hayden, 7 p.m.

Nov. 13 – Hayden at Soroco, 7 p.m.

“Momentum is everything in football,” said Hayden head coach Matt Linsacum. “In that stretch, we had all the momentum.”

An onside kick return and a fumble recovery didn’t go their way in the next few minutes, but the Tigers ended the game on a positive note. Tackles from junior Israel Santos and Frentress stopped the Saints in their tracks and turned the ball over on downs.

Hayden next plays Rangely on the road Friday, Oct. 30. Linsacum said his team needs to be able to toss this game and all the mistakes aside and focus on what’s next.

“You’ve got to be short-minded in football,” he said. “You got to learn to let those plays go.”

Vail Christian 28, Hayden 6

VC 14 8 6 0 – 28

H 0 0 0 6 – 6

First quarter

VC – No. 26 6 rush, conversion no good, 6:44

VC – Jess Gonzales 65 rush, conversion, 2:01

Second quarter

VC – Gonzales 35 rush, Miles Imbof pass from Leo Rothenberg, 3:05

Third quarter

VC – Taylor Shull 1 rush, conversion no good, 3:58

Fourth quarter

H – Wyatt Murphy 47 pass from Brayden Dale, conversion no good, 7:29

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