Hayden's Dan Engle, left, celebrates with Mark Doolin, center, after a touchdown in Saturday's win against Simla.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden's Dan Engle, left, celebrates with Mark Doolin, center, after a touchdown in Saturday's win against Simla.

Hayden football team blows out Simla

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Hayden Senior Mark Doolin shakes off Simla defenders. Submitted by: David Torgler

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The Hayden crowd celebrates a score in the second half of Saturday's game against Simla.

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Aaron Cramer hauls in a pass Saturday. Despite the contact from the defender, he came down with it, slipped the tackle and went on for the touchdown.

— Through this transition to 8-man football, one of Hayden High School football coach Shawn Baumgartner’s favorite sayings has been, “We’re new to this whole system.”

Certainly going from 11-man to 8-man has seen its bumps. But what the Tigers are used to is playoff football.

And on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon in Hayden, the team made a resounding statement, punching its ticket back into the familiar territory of state playoff football.

Hayden blew out Simla, making it a running clock in the fourth quarter to win the crossover game, 52-12.

“It’s a sense of relief,” Baumgartner said. “They looked tough. They’re real well coached, and they looked real tough on film.”

Film only goes so far, however. On Saturday, after it initially looked like it might be a shootout, Hayden unveiled a balanced offensive attack that saw it punt just once all game.

“We just played well,” said lineman Jake Hockett, who helped quarterback Mark Doolin walk off the Tigers' field with nary a grass stain on his jersey. “We had a really good week of practice. Everybody played great. That was a fun game.”

Simla was without its best player in Damian Bell, who was out with an injury. It isn’t likely, though, that Bell would have made much of a difference.

Simply put, Hayden was the better team on the field Saturday. After the team lost earlier this season to West Grand, the book was out on the Tigers.

Their zone read, with Doolin and running back Dan Engle, was figured out. So instead of kicking a dead horse, the Tigers adapted.

For those who have seen Hayden, it looked like a new offense.

“We were just trying to show some different things, and we executed it,” Baumgartner said.

Early one, it looked like the team with the last possession would win. But Hayden jumped out 14-0 in the first quarter on a Doolin run and a 32-yard pitch and catch to Aaron Cramer.

The Cubs had moved the ball well and cut it to 14-6 early in the second on a 33-yard run by Kade Pyatt.

After trading scores to make it 20-12, Hayden turned the momentum in the final three minutes of the first half.

A 1-yard Doolin run made it 26-12. Hayden’s defense, which gave up yards but never a big play, held. The Cubs ensuing punt went 19 yards, and on the next play Doolin found Cramer from 41 yards out for a 32-12 halftime lead.

“That was big for us at the end,” Baumgartner said. “That was big, and I think that rolled the confidence over and really swung the momentum on our side.”

Hayden got the ball to start the second half and applied the foot to the throat.

Doolin again found Cramer, this time from 45 yards, and then carried it 31 on his own to put Hayden up 46-12 after three quarters.

Engle added a 4-yard touchdown run for the final result.

As well as the offense played, it was Hayden’s defense that keyed it to the win. The Cubs were effective between the 30-yard lines but never could penetrate deeper. Beyond the scores in the first half, Hayden’s defense pitched a shutout.

“We worked hard on reading our keys,” Hockett said. “Then it was just fly to the football. Find it, fly to it.”

Doolin was 14 of 22 for 204 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball 17 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Cramer caught four balls for 124 yards and three touchdowns, and Greg Frentress had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Hayden now waits for the release of the 16-team, 8-man playoff bracket. Baumgartner said he wasn’t sure where the Tigers would be seeded but was fairly sure they would be on the road to open.

“We’re just happy we’re still playing,” he said.

West Grand, winners of the league, also advanced Saturday, beating Pikes Peak Christian, 54-6. The other teams from Hayden’s league, Rangely and Vail Christian, lost Saturday.

The Colorado High School Activities Association will release the 16-team bracket Sunday.

Game statistics

Hayden 52, Simla 12

Hayden

First Downs 7

Rushes-Yards 22-167

Comp-Att-Int 6-7-0

Yards Passing 165

Total Yards 332

Punts-Avg. 1-23

Fumbles-lost 3-0

Penalties-Yards 5-35

Simla

First Downs 18

Rushes-Yards 53-244

Comp-Att-Int 5-12-0

Yards Passing 64

Total Yards 308

Punts-Avg. 4-27

Fumbles-lost 3-0

Penalties-Yards 10-95

■ Score by quarters

Simla 00-12-00-00—12

Hayden 14-18-14-06—52

■ Scoring summary First quarter

H: 6:47, Mark Doolin 2 run. (Kick fail).

H: 3:22, Aaron Cramer 32 pass from Doolin. (Doolin run).

Second quarter

S: 11:17, Kade Pyatt 33 run. (Run fail).

H: 10:00, Greg Frentress 10 pass from Doolin. (Pass fail).

S: 5:50, Ed Ehmann 15 pass from Cody Norris. (Pass fail).

H: 2:47, Doolin 1 run. (Pass fail).

H: 0:54, Cramer 41 pass from Doolin. (Pass fail).

Third quarter

H: 10:57, Cramer 45 pass from Doolin. (Frentress from Doolin).

H: 6:03, Doolin 31 run. (Run fail).

Fourth quarter

H: 10:02, Dan Engle 4 run. (Pass fail).

■ Individual statistics

Rushing

S: Dustin Campbell 11-63; Pyatt 26-169, 1 TD; Norris 14-22; Aaron Thieman 1-0; Ehmann 1-(-10).

H: Doolin 17-152, 3 TD; Engle 6-23, 1 TD; Frentress 1-0.

Passing

S: Norris 5-10-0, 64 yards, 1 TD; Thieman 0-2-0.

H: Doolin 14-22-0, 204 yards, 4 TD.

Receiving

S: Ehmann 2-27, 1 TD; Campbell 2-0; Kyler Hamacher 1-37.

H: Engle 3-20; Frentress 4-37, 1 TD; Cramer 4-124, 3 TD; Jake Hockett 1-0; T-Lane Mazzola 1-7.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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