The Hayden High School football team scored 34 first-half points, and the starting defense surrendered just one first down in an easy 54-14 victory against Plateau Valley on Saturday.
One week after losing to Paonia, the Tigers responded with an expected win against the Cowboys, moving to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in Western Slope League play.
Soroco's defeat of Meeker on Friday moves the Tigers into second place in the standings.
"We played OK," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said of his team's performance against Plateau Valley. "Defensively, we played really well. Offensively, it was the little things as we looked at film. I thought our execution could have been better."
Baumgartner said the failure to do small things cost Hayden in its game against Paonia.
"Those are the things you have to do to beat the good teams," he said.
In Friday's win, quarterbacks Keenan Bruchez, a senior, and backup Mitch Doolin, a freshman, combined to throw for 279 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Freshman Coy Letlow had his first 100-yard rushing game.
The Tigers welcome another good team to Hayden at 7:30 p.m. Friday, when they face Meeker. Baumgartner attended Soroco's upset of Meeker, during which the Rams racked up almost 400 rushing yards.
"Soroco runs the ball," Baumgartner said. "That's what they do. They had 11 guys on the line of scrimmage, and Meeker stayed in a 4-3."
In other words, the Cowboys didn't adjust on defense, opting to try to contain the middle of the field while leaving the outside lanes open.
The Tigers would like to establish similar success on the ground, but Hayden knows Meeker isn't going to underestimate the Tigers. Soroco coach Gary Heide said he thinks Meeker looked past his Rams.
"Meeker is going to come
in..." Baumgartner said, seeing little need to finish the sentence. "Meeker is a good team."