Hayden High School senior Ben Fulton, left, watches junior Dayton Dowling, middle, and Treyben Letlow celebrate after Dowling caught an interception.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Hayden High School senior Ben Fulton, left, watches junior Dayton Dowling, middle, and Treyben Letlow celebrate after Dowling caught an interception.

Tigers open season with 13-7 win

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Game statistics

Coal Ridge Hayden

17 First Downs 15

43-162 Rushes-Yards 41-149

2-6-1 Comp-Att-Int 7-13-0

33 Yards Passing 97

195 Total Yards 246

0-0 Punts-Avg. 1-27

5-5 Fumbles-lost 5-2

11-111 Penalties-Yards 7-55

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Coal Ridge 00-07-00-00-7

Hayden 00-13-00-00-13

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter:

None

Second Quarter:

H 11:56, Graig Medvesk 1 run. (Rene Valdez kick).

H 9:57, Ben Fulton 36 pass from Medvesk. (Kick fail).

CR 3:39, Dillon Schelling 1 run. (Ryan Zelenka kick).

Third Quarter:

None

Fourth Quarter:

None

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing:

CR: Schelling 22-61, 1 TD; Colby Fauser 3-7; Cody Walls 10-40; Crockett Williams 7-52; Cameron Colton 1-2.

H: Brian Hoza 5-8; Medvesk 15-78, 1 TD; Treyben Letlow 11-40; Ryan Domson 9-22; Jake Walker 1-1.

Passing:

CR: Williams 2-6-1, 33 yards

H: Medvesk 7-13-0, 97 yards, 1 TD.

Receiving:

CR: Arion Gross 1-13; Colton Schelling 1-20.

H: Letlow 2-12; Fulton 3-78, 1 TD; Ryan Romine 1-4; Rene Valdez 1-3.

— Any concerns about the state of the Hayden High School football team were answered in Friday's season-opening game against Coal Ridge.

Hayden, which returns just two starters from last year's squad, grew up in front of coach Shawn Baumgartner's eyes, using junior quarterback Graig Medvesk's unique skills and timely defense to come away with a 13-7 win.

"We talked, and there's not a lot of experience," Baumgartner said. "These guys showed a lot of character in stepping up in the second half and holding them out."

In a contest certainly characteristic of a first game, both teams struggled with blunders throughout. The two teams combined for eight turnovers and 191 yards in penalties.

But the less experienced Hayden team handled it better.

Defensively, the Tigers held the Titans to 195 yards of total offense and created six turnovers, including five fumbles.

On two of those fumbles, Hayden turned the turnovers into points. The first came when Treyben Letlow recovered a botched pitch. Five plays later, Medvesk - making his first start at quarterback - scored from 1 yard out.

On the ensuing Coal Ridge possession, the Titans fumbled again - this time on a sack by Letlow.

On the very next play, Medvesk found Ben Fulton on a fly pass down the right sideline for a 36-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.

"We sat around and talked about what we needed to get done, and we got it done," Medvesk said. "The underclassmen all remembered how bad it felt getting beat by them last year. We had them, and they had like a 90-yard score on us. It felt good to beat them."

Coal Ridge's lone score of the night came when Medvesk fumbled the ball midway through the second quarter. The Titans took 13 plays before Dillon Schelling scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 13-7.

That's when the young Hayden team really started to grow up.

Coal Ridge had opportunities in the second half to tie the game or go ahead, but Hayden turned them away each time. Hayden forced Coal Ridge to turn the ball over on three of its four second-half drives to preserve the win.

The game probably shouldn't have been as close as it was. On two straight drives in the second half, Hayden turned the ball over on downs at the Coal Ridge 1 yard line.

But whereas some teams would let those letdowns affect them, Hayden's defense continued to rise to the challenge.

"It was kind of the old bend-but-don't-break defense," Baumgartner said. "Coal Ridge turned the ball over, and defensively we were able to capitalize on that. A lot of kids realized how physical Friday night is and how fast things moved. I really think we're only going to get better from here on out."

Hayden returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at Roaring Fork.

Coal Ridge Hayden

17 First Downs 15

43-162 Rushes-Yards 41-149

2-6-1 Comp-Att-Int 7-13-0

33 Yards Passing 97

195 Total Yards 246

0-0 Punts-Avg. 1-27

5-5 Fumbles-lost 5-2

11-111 Penalties-Yards 7-55

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Coal Ridge 00-07-00-00-7

Hayden 00-13-00-00-13

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter:

None

Second Quarter:

H 11:56, Graig Medvesk 1 run. (Rene Valdez kick).

H 9:57, Ben Fulton 36 pass from Medvesk. (Kick fail).

CR 3:39, Dillon Schelling 1 run. (Ryan Zelenka kick).

Third Quarter:

None

Fourth Quarter:

None

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing:

CR: Schelling 22-61, 1 TD; Colby Fauser 3-7; Cody Walls 10-40; Crockett Williams 7-52; Cameron Colton 1-2.

H: Brian Hoza 5-8; Medvesk 15-78, 1 TD; Treyben Letlow 11-40; Ryan Domson 9-22; Jake Walker 1-1.

Passing:

CR: Williams 2-6-1, 33 yards

H: Medvesk 7-13-0, 97 yards, 1 TD.

Receiving:

CR: Arion Gross 1-13; Colton Schelling 1-20.

H: Letlow 2-12; Fulton 3-78, 1 TD; Ryan Romine 1-4; Rene Valdez 1-3.

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