Saturday, November 5, 2011
Steamboat Springs Reflecting on his team, Hayden High School football coach Shawn Baumgartner speculated it might have lost to Class 1A No. 3 seed Lutheran in truly lopsided fashion had they played early in the season, when the Tigers still were struggling to piece their team together.
“We got better,” he said.
Hayden put together a late-season run to make the playoffs, but even improved, it wasn’t enough, and that run ended Saturday in Parker. The Tigers fell to Lutheran in a mistaken-filled game, 35-6.
“They were big up front and had a lot of team speed. They were just a really good team,” Baumgartner said. “I’m just so proud of our boys, the way they came in and battled all the way through.”
Lutheran entered the game boasting an explosive offense, and indeed Hayden saw why, the Lions leaping to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
It wasn’t as much that offense as it was costly mistakes that doomed the Tigers, though. An early drive was stunted by a fumble and quickly turned into a 7-0 Lutheran lead. A long punt return helped make it 21-0.
Hayden answered with junior quarterback Mark Doolin breaking free for a touchdown to make it 21-6, but a miscue on the ensuing kickoff again set the Lions in good field position, and they made it 28-6 before halftime.
Hayden threatened to make a game of it again in the third quarter, but yet another fumble, this one deep in Lutheran territory, stopped the drive.
“When you get to this point in the playoffs and you’re playing a team as good as they are, any little mistake will be a glaring mistake,” Baumgartner said. “It wasn’t like our kids were just dropping the ball, either. They were stripping it from us, ripping it right out of our arms.”
Lutheran tacked on one final touchdown to set the final score.
With the loss, Hayden will bid 11-man football farewell. When the Tigers next don the pads, they’ll do so as one of the newest members of the 8-man football ranks. They go out having made the playoffs each of the past two years.
“We feel like we played better than the score indicates,” Baumgartner said. “We got better this season, and that’s what we needed to do. Whether we had injuries or kids playing out of position, they battled for us and did everything we could have asked of them.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com