Tigers wary of Sargent traps

8th-seeded Hayden hosts game Saturday

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Season statistics

Rushes-Yards 477-2,651

Comp-Att-Int 32-56-1

Yards Passing 390

Total Yards 3,041

Punts-Avg. 24-36

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Hayden 54-112-55-57-278

Opponent 18-12-23-21-74

INDIVIDUAL SEASON STATISTICS

Rushing

Coy Letlow 222-1,490, 17 TD; Brandon Ford 111-648, 8 TD; Russell Waugh 72-388, 4 TD; Mitchel Doolin 31-44, 2 TD; Zathan Bark 4-17, 1 TD; Jake Walker 17-34; Mitchell VeDepo 11-23; Josh Ehlers 6-7; Jeremy Engle 3-0.

Passing

Doolin 26-41-1 312 yards, 2 TD; Engle 4-10-0 33 yards, 1 TD; Letlow 2-2-0 45 yards, 1TD.

Receiving

Dave Gullett 6-86, 1 TD; Aaron Haskins 15-174, 1 TD; Ford 2-11; Waugh 4-74, 2TD; Letlow 2-23; Chuck Hines 1-12; Zed Wheelock 1-2; Sam Kopsa 1-9.

— Hayden football coach Shawn Baumgartner has spent the week watching film and preparing his Tigers to keep an otherwise unknown Sargent team from setting the trap in their Saturday showdown.

Sargent comes into the Class 1A first-round playoff game with an 8-1 record, having established a running game that relies heavily on inside and outside trap plays. Sargent fullback T.J. VanBibber and tailback Matt Morgan have rushed for more than 2,000 yards in nine games this season by using the trap schemes that double up offensive blocks to open running lanes.

"Everything keys off of that, first and foremost," Del Norte head coach Greg King said.

King said that stopping Sargent's trap plays and forcing the team to employ other strategies allowed his team to beat the Farmers, 28-0, for the Southern Peaks Conference championship.

Although the loss cost them an undefeated season and hopes for a home playoff game, Sargent coach Terry VanBibber doesn't think it hurt his team's outlook.

"The loss got their attention," VanBibber said. "It's a good thing that gave us a total re-focus."

VanBibber is quick to point out that his offense has more than one trick. He credited the play of 6-foot-5-inch sophomore quarterback Andrew Price, who threw for more than 100 yards in each of the Farmers' last three games, and a 4-4 defense that "comes out hard" and looks to blitz often.

Although Hayden shares key similarities with Sargent - an explosive backfield that has racked up more than 2,000 rushing yards and a stingy defense that allowed six or fewer points in six games - Baumgartner does not think his team needs the same shift in perspective as the Farmers do.

"The team's been focused all year," Baumgartner said. "We look at it like it's no different: another week and opportunity to play football."

Baumgartner said he fine-tuned some specifics based on Sargent game films. Defensively, the Tigers will quick play off the line to protect the run and tighten play from the cornerbacks if Sargent spreads the field to pass from a shotgun formation.

"You have to study what you can of the other team and focus on what you do best," Baumgartner said. "You have to find weaknesses and be ready to make adjustments in the game."

On offense, Baumgartner thinks his line will have a challenge stopping Sargent's defensive tackles, but he's confident that his team "got here for a reason." Much of that reason has been the effective blocking and rushing attack of Coy Letlow, Brandon Ford and Russell Waugh.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Hayden. Hayden athletics director Kevin Kleckler said as many as 3,000 fans could come to the game.

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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