If you go
What: Hayden football vs. Hotchkiss
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Hayden High School
What: Soroco football vs. Silver State
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Soroco High School
Steamboat Springs Classify this one as a must win for the Hayden High School football team.
Hayden, at 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Class 1A Western Slope League, welcomes Hotchkiss for a 7:30 p.m. game today at Hayden High School, a game that will have a vital impact on the Tigers' hopes of making the Class 1A playoffs.
"I think it's getting that way for everybody," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "Come the final two or three weeks in the conference, they're all must win."
Hayden will have its hands full.
Hotchkiss leads the league and is ranked in the top 10 by multiple outlets. The Bulldogs (6-0, 3-0) run a triple option attack led by running backs Tyler Hansen and Jaime Rodriguez, and quarterback Ryan Spor.
The three each average nearly eight yards a carry and are threats to break a big run anytime they touch the ball.
"They're a true veer option team," Baumgartner said. "There aren't too many teams that just run the triple option. It's assignment football against these guys. One wrong step, and they'll exploit that."
Hayden, however, does get back starting quarterback Graig Medvesk this week. Medvesk, a junior, missed last week's 7-6 win against Rangely with a concussion.
With Medvesk back, Baumgartner said he hopes the Tigers offense can finally get on track this week.
This season Hayden hasn't had a ton of trouble moving the ball until the team gets it inside the red zone. From there, though, Hayden's struggles have been amplified.
"Offensively, we have to sustain those drives and be a ball control team," Baumgartner said. The red zone "has been a focus. We've practiced getting in the end zone. Once we get there, we have to believe we can score."
Hayden's defense has given up only 12 points a game this year, but it has been plagued by the big play.
Although a majority of those plays have come in the passing game, Baumgartner said the defense must make Hotchkiss work for its points.
"For us, I really think it's playing our assignments," Baumgartner said. "Defensively, we've been good the full year. We have to maintain that consistency on defense. If we have a chance in the fourth quarter, I'm liking our odds."
Soroco football team looks to remain undefeated
The Soroco High School football team will look to remain undefeated today, when Silver State comes to town.
Soroco (6-0) will bring its high-powered offense into the 7 p.m. game against a team it beat, 72-18, last season.
The Patriots, however, appear to be a much different team this season. Silver State, at 3-3, has a dynamite rushing attack led by Spencer Fagen and Adam Van Eaton. Fagen has combined for more than 1,200 yards rushing and receiving, and Van Eaton has chipped in 422 yards on the ground.
Soroco will again turn to its offense, led by seniors Cody Miles (1,398 yards passing, 806 yards rushing and 28 total offensive touchdowns), Gage Achtner, Alex Estes and Matt Watwood.
Watwood, though, will be out with an injury.
A win, and Soroco sets itself up for a monumental showdown at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at home against Norwood.
Norwood, which probably will enter the game as a top five team in 8-man, could be the only thing standing in the way of a perfect Soroco season.
Because of Colorado High School Activities Association rules, the Rams aren't postseason eligible this season.