Hayden football is still in the Class A Western Slope League picture -- but barely -- after a 29-8 loss to West Grand on Friday in Kremmling.
The Tigers drop to third in the standings -- the league gets three playoff spots -- behind West Grand and Paonia.
Paonia's one-point win against Meeker on Friday keeps Hayden in the playoff hunt. But now, the Tigers have to beat rival Soroco at 7 p.m. Friday to advance.
"That is a huge, huge game," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "We have to beat Soroco."
More important, however, the Tigers cannot beat themselves. On Friday, West Grand scored 16 points off Hayden turnovers in the first half, giving the Mustangs a 16-0 lead at halftime.
"Offensively and defensively, they played well," Baumgartner said. "They shut down our passing game. We had some success running the ball and a little success throwing out of our two-back set."
The Tigers were driving in the second half, but the Mustangs held on fourth down. West Grand drove down the field and scored to put the game away. Hayden got its lone touchdown in the closing minute of the game on quarterback Keenan Bruchez's pass to Tyson Letlow. The conversion was good.
Kickoff between Hayden (6-2 overall, 4-2 in the league) and Soroco (5-3, 3-3) is at 7 p.m. Friday in Hayden. The kickoff is 30 minutes earlier than typical league games.