Hayden West Grand showed why it is the team to beat in the Western Slope as the Mustangs rolled past Hayden 56-13 Friday night.
The Mustangs jumped on the Tigers early and never let up. The Mustangs scored the first time they had the ball and then stunned the Tigers with an onside kick. After recovering the kick at Hayden's 38-yard line, West Grand needed just four plays to tack on another score for a 14-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
For all practical purposes, the game was over at that point. The Mustangs cruised to a 43-0 halftime lead and rested its starters in the second half.
Hayden never got its offense untracked. The Tigers managed just 14 yards and no first downs in the first 24 minutes.
The win moves West Grand to 7-0 on the season and 5-0 in the Western Slope League. The Mustangs are ranked fifth in the state in Class 1A.
Hayden fell to 3-4 overall and 1-4 in league play. The loss essentially eliminated any chance the Tigers had at postseason play.
West Grand was lead by quarterback and defensive back Tom Leitner, who completed 12-of-17 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a half's worth of work. He also rushed for 40 yards and intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound senior has now thrown 20 touchdown passes on the season.
He connected with three different receivers for scores including David Valance, Jared Robertson and Chris Sheehan.
Tyler Terryberry led the Mustangs in rushing, finishing with 99 yards on 12 carries. Like Leitner, Terryberry didn't see action on offense in the second half.
West Grand finished the game with 362 yards of total offense.
It could have been worse for the Tigers. Two bad snaps that sailed over punter Jeff Higgins' head cost the Mustangs 50 yards.
The first of those punting miscues gave the Tigers the ball on the Mustangs' 6-yard line and led to Hayden's first score, a five-yard pass from Kelly Bruchez to Cam Whiteman. That touchdown pass with 8:51 left in the third period was the only pass Hayden completed in 16 attempts.
A West Grand miscue six minutes later gave Hayden its other score. West Grand tailback Bryan Klotz was hit just as he took a pitch on the option and fumbled. Jordan Rolando scooped up the ball at the Mustangs' 45-yard line and raced untouched to the end zone.
West Grand got both of its second-half scores on defense as well.
Leitner intercepted a Bruchez pass and returned it 25 yards for a score and then Max Ryan picked up a Hayden fumble at the 9-yard line and returned it for the game's final score with 11:53 to go.
Hayden finished with 59 yards of total offense. Whiteman had 67 yards rushing.
Hayden travels to Soroco next Friday, while West Grand hosts Rangely.