Hayden’s Treyben Letlow tries to plow through a Grand Valley defender in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game. That late offensive spurt wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who couldn’t turn five Cardinal fumbles into a victory. Hayden lost, 17-12.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden’s Treyben Letlow tries to plow through a Grand Valley defender in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game. That late offensive spurt wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who couldn’t turn five Cardinal fumbles into a victory. Hayden lost, 17-12.

Hayden football team fumbles opportunity against Grand Valley

Grand Valley Cardinals’ turnovers not enough to lift Tigers in 17-12 loss at home Friday

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Grand Valley's Anthony Rhoads breaks free during Friday night's football game against Hayden. His 218 yards helped keep his team in control, though five fumbles allowed the Tigers to hang around. That wasn't enough as Hayden lost, 17-12.

— A tireless defense that recovered five fumbles wasn’t enough to make up for a lackluster offense Friday night as the Hayden High School football team dropped to 1-2 on the season.

The Tigers lost at home to Grand Valley, 17-12.

“We’re going to get there,” Hayden coach Shawn Baum­gartner said. “We’re going to keep working, keep teaching and we’re going to get there.”

For Hayden, the theme of the game was hanging around.

For Grand Valley, it was control.

The Cardinals brought a fierce two-headed running attack and moved the ball well throughout the game. Running back Caleb Lenard gained 128 yards on 17 carries, outdone only by backfield mate Anthony Rhoads, who had 218 yards on 32 tries.

The team moved the ball up and down the field in both halves and constantly seemed on the verge of scoring a touchdown that would render a Hayden comeback impossible.

The Tigers’ resilient defense never let that happen, however. Ben Williams and Chris Skof played well at defensive end and Treyben Letlow lit ball carriers up all night from his linebacker position.

Letlow scored first, giving Hayden a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. Grand Valley answered back with two scores in the second, including a 5-yard quarterback keeper from Jerrod Busch with 26 seconds remaining that put his team up, 14-6, at the break.

Grand Valley seemed ready for another touchdown throughout the second half, but time and time again drives were stunted by penalties and, even more so, fumbles.

“We were just freaking out. I don’t know how else to explain it,” said Rhoads, who scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run but also coughed up the ball three times. “We just couldn’t get our heads straight, but we eventually got it together.”

Grand Valley again was turned away late in the fourth quarter but finally found points via a field goal, making the score 17-6.

Hayden refused to go away as Graig Medvesk returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, that kickoff return amounted to their only signs of offensive life in the second half.

“Defensively our kids step­­ped up when we needed them to. If you get five fumbles you should win the game,” Baumgartner said.

Medvesk was pressured throughout the night and threw three interceptions, including one with 36 seconds remaining that finally signaled the team’s defeat.

“Hayden’s a tough team. They’re very physical and very big,” Cardinals coach Mike Johnson said. “Defensively, after their first drive we really did a nice job taking away what they wanted to do, which was get (Medvesk) loose.”

Statistics

Hayden (1-2) — 6-0-0-6 — 12

Grand Valley (2-1) — 0-14-0-3 — 17

Scoring summary

1st quarter

H — 7:23 — Treyben Letlow 6-yard run. Kick failed.

2nd quarter

GV — 11:19 — Anthony Rhoads 1-yard run. Vic Castaneda kick.

GV — 0:26 — Jerrod Busch 5-yard run. Castaneda kick.

4th quarter

GV — 5:44 — Cantaneda field goal.

H — 5:30 — Graig Medvesk 90-yard kickoff return.

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