Hayden football coach Shawn Baumgartner has been talking about amping up his team's passing game since before the season even started.
The Tigers failed in that regard Saturday afternoon, playing against Dolores at Palisade High School. But it's a problem Baumgartner said he's willing to accept.
Hayden kept the ball on the ground and racked up huge yards on the way to a lopsided score, beating Dolores, 48-14.
"Things went well for us today. Really well," Baumgartner said. "We didn't get to throwing the ball like I said we would, but I guess we didn't need to."
Probably not. The Tigers racked up 345 yards rushing. Coy Letlow topped 100 yards against Dolores for the third consecutive season, finishing with 120 yards on 10 carries. He also had two touchdowns.
Plenty of other Tigers got in on the act. Baumgartner said Dolores sold out to stop the option pitch, often blitzing a linebacker to cover the running back. Hayden took advantage. Both the Tigers' quarterbacks ran for touchdowns and all their ball carriers found big yards once through the Bears' blitz.
Quarterback Mitchel Doolin scored the game's first touchdown with a 20-yard run. Letlow then crashed in from 12 yards before sophomore quarterback Graig Medvesk, who plays for one designated drive in each half, sprinted 54 yards for a touchdown of his own.
"They played a 4-4 defense but wanted to take away our outside option game, so if we were able to pop something and get past the front line, we got a lot of yards," Baumgartner said.
Hayden had six touchdown runs of more than 10 yards.
The defense had little trouble making sure the big lead would hold. Hayden went up 34-0 on a Jake Walker touchdown run late in the second quarter, and Dolores didn't score until the junior varsity defense took the field.
Pass interceptions by defensive backs Doolin, Billy Zehner and Ben Williams helped stunt drives while the defensive line contained the Bears' typically-elusive tailbacks.
"Our defense played so well," Baumgartner said. "It gave our offense a short field all day. We had two drives that started on their side of the 40. We did a great job of pinning them back and forcing them to punt."
Hayden returns to action Friday when it travels to Paonia for its first Western Slope League game of the season. Baumgartner said he couldn't imagine a better way to close out the nonleague games than what the team did Saturday.
"It was a good win to get us going into the conference," he said. "
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