Steamboat Springs If the members of the Hayden Tigers football team didn't sense how their head coach felt about Saturday's 14-0 loss after the game, he will make it clear to them this week during practice.
Coach Kevin Klecker said he was not upset just because his team lost to Plateau Valley, but more importantly because of how his team performed against the Cowboys a team the Tigers dominated earlier this year in a 38-12 outing in Hayden.
"Yes, I think you can say we had a let down," Kleckler said of the game. "When we are up we are pretty much unbeatable, but when we are down look out."
On Saturday, Plateau Valley came out hard scoring the first points of the quarter and taking control of the game.
"We changed a few things after the last game against Hayden and I think it helped," Plateau Valley coach John Henderson said. Hayden gave up the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter.
It came after Hayden pinned the Cowboys on the team's own five-yard line, but instead of making the most of the situation the Tigers' defense collapsed.
Plateau valley running back Cory Kline broke a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage and rambled 80 yards before being tackled from behind by Glen Frentress.
A couple of plays later, Plateau Valley took the lead when Brian Cloud his Jason Coon with a short touchdown pass.
Steven Azcarraga nailed the extra point to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
A sure sign that things were not bouncing Hayden's way came in the second quarter when Plateau Valley lined up for a field goal.
The snap went over the holder's head and a mad scramble to recover the ball ensued.
Plateau Valley kicker Azcarraga found the handle first, and then proceeded to run up the sideline for another Cowboys' touchdown.
"I think a lot of our athletes are frustrated I'm frustrated," Kleckler said. "We haven't won on the road this season and that is something we will be working on in practice this week."
Kevin Miller rushed for 128 yards in the game to lead Hayden's offensive attack. However, he only completed four of 23 attempts in the air for 17 yards. He also threw an interception.
"It wasn't all Kevin's (Miller's) fault," Kleckler said. "Our receivers dropped a couple of passes in the end zone and you can't do that if you want to win."
The Tigers' defense also put up some strong numbers in the game and was pretty solid with the exception of the one long run from scrimmage.
Kelly Bruchez led the team in tackles with 12 solo and eight assists. Defensive lineman Alan Stark recovered a fumble for the only Plateau Valley turnover of the game.
"It was a big win for us," Plateau Valley coach John Henderson. "We have a really young team this year and it was good win for our younger kids and our seniors."
Kleckler said the loss drops the Tigers into a must win situation this Friday night in Grand Valley. "If we don't win this game our chances of advancing to the playoffs will all but disappear," Kleckler said.
The coach said Tigers' practices this week would most likely reflect his mood.
"We are going to be working a lot on discipline," he said. "We gave up 25 yards in penalties last weekend on the Cowboy's opening drive. They almost scored."
The loss drops the Tigers into a tie with the Cowboys for second place in the league at 2-2; however, the Tigers still hold a slight advantage over the Cowboys in the tie-breaking point spread.
"If we take care of business in the last two games, we should have a playoff spot," Kleckler said. "But we have to take care of business."
The Cowboys will wrap up the season with a game this week against West Grand, 4-0 in league and 7-0 overall, this weekend and winless Grand Valley on Oct. 27. Hayden will face Grand Valley this Friday in Parachute. The local team will close out the season against West Grand Oct. 26 at home.
The West Grand Mustangs, a team which has outscored its opponents 260-39 this season, needs just one more win to clinch the Western Slope League title this season.