Quarterback Dale does it all in Hayden football’s home opener
HAYDEN — The Hayden Valley High School football team was rightfully frustrated at half time of Saturday’s game against Mancos. The Tigers couldn’t seem to execute the way they wanted to. In front of them, Mancos was doing everything right and led 35-0.
The Tiger avoided a shutout thanks to a late touchdown from junior quarterback Brayden Dale, but lost 57-8.
“There’s lots of room for improvement,” head coach Matt Linsacum said. “We’re just trying to focus on what can we do better. What can we do better for the next game? We have a saying called W.I.N., and that’s what’s important next. That game is over, and we move on.”
Dale was the cog, the central piece that got everything moving. In his second year of quarterback, he’s familiar with the offense. Familiarity didn’t translate to success. Last year, he had many senior players to look to. This fall, Dale has talented but less experienced players to turn to, including juniors Sabyn Hager, Kodi Ingols and sophomore Grady Frentress. Each did their best, but the mistakes added up for the Tigers.
Using his speed, Dale ran the ball often. He hooked toward a sideline and pushed by as many enemy jerseys as he could. The junior said he tries to execute the play as asked but also feels some pressure to make something happen.
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“It’s kind of a mix of both,” he said. “I try to do what the coaches call, but if something goes crazy, then you just do what you got to do.”
Hager said he absolutely feels pressure to do well since he’s one of the oldest players and a leader for the seniorless team.
The pair tried to keep their building frustration within themselves, not wanting to escalate the feeling by taking it out on a teammate.
Linsacum said once the juniors are more confident in their leadership role, things will start coming together. He expects that to take some time though, since the 2021 leaders were underclassmen last year.
When the offense can’t convert, Dale stays on the field and punts the ball to the opponent. His kicks were powerful and forced Mancos to work hard to score on each drive.
Offense is where he does his best work, though. He had a few passes that gave the Tigers renewed energy.
Late in the second quarter, Dale found Frentress on the near sideline. The pass and Frentress’ run afterward totaled 49 yards, putting Hayden in the Mancos end of the field for just the third time in the first half.
In the fourth, with a running clock due to a 49-0 lead, Dale connected with Hager on a perfect, arching pass that dropped into the Tiger’s hands. Hager was covered well by a Mancos player, who didn’t allow Hager to take more than a step after catching the ball.
“I was like, ‘The ball was in the air; hopefully, I don’t miss it,’” Hager said. “Once you get a big play going, the momentum kind of carries. … As soon as I caught it, I saw the kid in the peripheral, and I was kind of wrapped up. I was just focused on holding onto the ball.”
One play later, Dale busted out from behind the line of scrimmage and ran 57 yards to score the Tigers’ only touchdown of the day. Hager ran in the two-point conversion.
“I remember just getting through the line,” Dale said. “And pretty much my goal is to get to the end zone and not let anyone down.”
Mancos 57, Hayden 8
H 0 0 0 8 – 8
M 21 14 14 8 – 57
M — Chase Moore 58 rush, PAT no good, 9:08
M — 16 rush, Kail Wayman from Ayden Mathews, 4:35
M — Mathews 1 rush, Evan Sehnert kick, 0:29
M — Moore 54 rush, Sehnert kick, 9:46
M — Moore 1 rush, Sehnert kick, 6:24
M — Moore 1 rush, Sehnert kick, 8:31 (running clock)
M — Moore 50 rush, Sehnert kick, 0:00
H — Brayden Dale 57 rush, Sabyn Hager rush, 7:00
M — touchdown, conversion good, 2:00
Aug. 28 - vs. Mancos, L 57-8
Sept. 10 - at Norwood, W 54-6
Sept. 17 - at West Grand, 7 p.m.
Sept 24 - vs. Gilpin County, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 - at Soroco, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 - vs. Vail Christian (senior night), 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 - vs. Plateau Valley (homecoming), 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 - at Rangely, 7 p.m.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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