Turnovers, penalties cost Hayden game

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— Plateau Valley coach Scott Rienks said his team's goal is to force three turnovers a game.

The Cowboys aren't big or experienced, so they feel they must maximize opportunities when opponents present them.

Saturday afternoon in Hayden, the Tigers turned the ball over six times, and if freely giving the ball to Plateau Valley wasn't enough, Hayden stalled its own drives and hurt its chances to build any momentum by committing 13 penalties for 147 yards.

Tigers coach Scott Parker said he has never been involved in a game with that many mental mistakes. Accidental facemasks happen and occasionally a lineman will hold the defender, but the careless personal fouls the Tigers kept racking up prevented them from having a chance.

And they only lost 15-14.

"Penalties just killed us," Parker said.

Rienks was quick to note his team committed 11 penalties for 95 yards, but Plateau Valley's miscues left them needing long yardage in the middle of the field. The spots where Hayden's miscues often occurred worsened its situation.

"When you look at paper we shouldn't have beaten Rangely or Hayden," Rienks said. "We try to do the things we do the best we can."

The Cowboys' first score of the game, a 52-yard pass from Bryan Cloud to Cody Nystrom on a slant pattern, came after their drive was sustained by a Tigers penalty, putting the visiting team up 7-6 with 4:19 to go in the second quarter.

With less than two minutes to go in the first half, Hayden responded to Plateau Valley's score with its second touchdown of the afternoon, following Kelly Bruchez's interception at Hayden's own 31-yard line.

On the first offensive play from scrimmage, sophomore Jesse Drennan got behind his lead blocker, breaking two tackles, on his way to a 69-yard touchdown run. Cam Whiteman, who rushed for 178 yards on 31 carries Saturday, was successful on the conversion, putting the Tigers back in the lead 14-7.

Fourteen seconds later - as long as it took Hayden to score following Bruchez's interception - the Cowboys went back on top for good after Nystrom returned Hayden's kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

"We just didn't break down on the kickoff," Bruchez said. "We didn't play to our level. We played down. We were not being disciplined."

And it cost the Tigers a league game, evening their record to 2-2 on the year but 0-2 in league play, while Plateau Valley improves to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Western Slope.

"We didn't play well early, but if a team can create six turnovers it has a chance," Rienks said.

-To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


The Cowboys aren't big or experienced, so they feel they must maximize opportunities when opponents present them.

Saturday afternoon in Hayden, the Tigers turned the ball over six times, and if freely giving the ball to Plateau Valley wasn't enough, Hayden stalled its own drives and hurt its chances to build any momentum by committing 13 penalties for 147 yards.

Tigers coach Scott Parker said he has never been involved in a game with that many mental mistakes. Accidental facemasks happen and occasionally a lineman will hold the defender, but the careless personal fouls the Tigers kept racking up prevented them from having a chance.

And they only lost 15-14.

"Penalties just killed us," Parker said.

Rienks was quick to note his team committed 11 penalties for 95 yards, but Plateau Valley's miscues left them needing long yardage in the middle of the field. The spots where Hayden's miscues often occurred worsened its situation.

"When you look at paper we shouldn't have beaten Rangely or Hayden," Rienks said. "We try to do the things we do the best we can."

The Cowboys' first score of the game, a 52-yard pass from Bryan Cloud to Cody Nystrom on a slant pattern, came after their drive was sustained by a Tigers penalty, putting the visiting team up 7-6 with 4:19 to go in the second quarter.

With less than two minutes to go in the first half, Hayden responded to Plateau Valley's score with its second touchdown of the afternoon, following Kelly Bruchez's interception at Hayden's own 31-yard line.

On the first offensive play from scrimmage, sophomore Jesse Drennan got behind his lead blocker, breaking two tackles, on his way to a 69-yard touchdown run. Cam Whiteman, who rushed for 178 yards on 31 carries Saturday, was successful on the conversion, putting the Tigers back in the lead 14-7.

Fourteen seconds later - as long as it took Hayden to score following Bruchez's interception - the Cowboys went back on top for good after Nystrom returned Hayden's kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

"We just didn't break down on the kickoff," Bruchez said. "We didn't play to our level. We played down. We were not being disciplined."

And it cost the Tigers a league game, evening their record to 2-2 on the year but 0-2 in league play, while Plateau Valley improves to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Western Slope.

"We didn't play well early, but if a team can create six turnovers it has a chance," Rienks said.

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