Defense does it for Hayden football | SteamboatToday.com

Defense does it for Hayden football

HAYDEN — The offense had its moments Friday for the Hayden High School football team, but like most good games in rainy, miserable conditions, it came down to the defense. There the Tigers dug in when they had to for a few game-deciding stops, then got big turnovers when they had to to walk away with the win.

Hayden won at home Friday, beating South Park 30-20.

"That's a big win," senior quarterback Garrett St. Clair said. "We want to finish first or second in our division and we want to make the playoffs."

The Tigers got two early touchdowns to set the pace, one a 45-yard touchdown pass from St. Clair to Mason Brewer. The second was a five-yard run by tailback Daylon Frentress.

Those certainly helped, but it was three defensive plays that preserved the win for the Tigers.

The first came not long after that Frentress touchdown, when the Tigers had a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

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Hayden failed to get a first down on a fourth-and-short situation deep in South Park territory, but several plays later Patrick Hunter pulled down an interception and returned it 20 yards for the touchdown. Frentress converted the two-point conversion to make it a 22-0 lead.

Later in that quarter, the Tigers stopped a South Park drive at the very last second. With 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Burros were poised to score and cut into Hayden’s lead. A fumble at the goal line, recovered by Hayden, ended that threat, however.

Finally, South Park's last, desperate attempt to comeback — and they had a small chance after controlling much of the second half — was thwarted in the waning moments of the fourth quarter when Richard Hallenback first punted the ball down to the one-yard line, then jumped on a fumble at the goal line, ending the game.

"We got big stops," St. Clair said. "We played hard-nosed football."

Hayden's now 3-0. It took its first game as a win after Nederland forfeited. Then last week the Tigers went on the road to beat up on Justice, 56-12.

Now they're prepping for another home game, at 7 p.m. Friday against Miami-Yoder.

Can Hayden, with only four wins in the past two seasons but three already this year, contend in the league?

St. Clair considered the question, but at first just offered a big grin.

"I'm just looking to play ball and score some touchdowns and celebrate with my teammates," he said.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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