Tigers turn tables on Panthers

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In a game full of big offensive plays Friday night on the Hayden High School football field, it was the Tigers' defensive stand that stole the show after the game clock had expired.

The play came a few seconds after Rangely quarterback Kalen Brady had scampered five yards to score what should have been the biggest touchdown of the night.

The touchdown, with no time remaining on the game clock, pulled the Panthers to within a point of the Tigers at 34-33.

But Rangely still needed an extra point to tie the game, or a two-point conversion for the win.

Rangely elected to go for the win.

But this time, Brady tossed the option to tail back Josh Padilla who was stopped a yard short of his goal.

"After they scored the touchdown, I told myself that I had worked too hard to let this one slip away," Hayden senior Jesse Drennan said after the game. "We haven't beat Rangely since I've been here, so this is a pretty big night."

Drennan, who had 150 rushing yards and 113 receiving in the game, scored the first touchdown of the game on Hayden's first offensive possession of the game.

Drennan took a swing pass from quarterback Keenan Bruchez before racing 46 yards to the end zone. Bruchez added the extra point to give the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.

It was the first of five touchdowns for the Hayden back.

"I've never rushed for five touchdowns behind a line as good as this one," Drennan said of his teammates.

Rangely's back Padilla and receiver Jason Brenton matched the Hayden back on the other side of the field.

Padilla scored on an 80-yard run in the first quarter, and Brady hit Brenton with a 27-yard pass for another Rangely score.

Hayden scored on another 56-yard pass play from Bruchez to Drennan between the Rangely touchdowns.

In the second quarter, Rangely's Brady hooked up with Brenton for another touchdown, and Drennan ran into the end zone for Hayden to make the score 21-21 at the end of the first half.

Drennan gave Hayden the lead on a 20-yard run with just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. But an 80-yard kickoff return set up a Zach Green touchdown that tied the score with 1:24 left in the quarter. Hayden blocked the extra point to cling to a one-point lead at 28-27.

Drennan scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown midway through the fourth, but this time Rangely blocked the extra point to keep the Panthers' hopes of upsetting the hometown team alive.

Those dreams almost came true as Rangely drove the length of the field, with the help of several interference penalties, setting up Brady's final touchdown.

"I expected them to go for two since we blocked two extra points," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "This was a total team effort. Our players just came up with the big plays when we needed them."

Hayden's Evan Hilling had a key second-half interception, and teammates Chris Frentress and Cam Whiteman both recovered fumbles that also killed Rangely's drives in the second half.

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