Hayden High School football coach Shawn Baumgartner is in good spirits.
He has shrugged off a 6-39 loss to Paonia last weekend and is focusing on this week's match in Collbran against the Plateau Valley Cowboys.
Although several Hayden players hung their heads after last week's game, Baumgartner wasn't angry. He told the boys to chin up, because Paonia was just flat-out bigger than the Tigers and there wasn't much they could have done about it -- especially after the game.
The Cowboys, however, Baumgartner sees as a better match for his Tigers.
"They have a new coach, so we'll be seeing new and different plays than last year," Baumgartner said.
In preparation for the game, the Tigers have been working to improve weaknesses found in last week's loss. They have gone back to the basics, focusing on tackling form and drills for the defensive line.
"Where we just weren't holding them last week, we've got to hold them at the line this week," Baumgartner said. "Last week, we were pushing too far and gave the backs room to run freely."
Also, whereas Hayden quarterback Keenan Bruchez threw three interceptions under pressure against Paonia, the Hayden coaches have been working with him this week, instructing him on what do when those situations arise.
"We've been telling him that sometimes you just have to eat it," Baumgartner said.
Other drills in practice have included watching for keys in opposing offenses' formations, so that Hayden can "stay away from the guessing game," Baumgartner said.
The Tigers (2-1, 0-1) face Plateau Valley (1-2, 0-1) at 1 p.m. today in Collbran.
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