No. 14 Hayden draws Akron again |

No. 14 Hayden draws Akron again

Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner speaks with his team after Saturday's win against Simla. The Tigers found out Sunday that they'd play Akron in the first round of the playoffs.

— It's been a season of new experiences as the Hayden High School football team has made its way through its first 8-man football schedule. So it seems odd that there will be something familiar as the Tigers set off next weekend for their first 8-man playoff game.

The 16-team playoff bracket was announced Sunday and Hayden, seeded 14th, is set to travel to play against No. 3 Akron. The Tigers also matched up with the Rams in the 2007 Class 1A playoff semifinals.

Akron delivered a beat down that day, winning 55-6 en route to winning the 1A state championship.

"I remember they were loaded that year," Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "They took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. They just had great team speed. … It was not a close game."

Both teams now find themselves in a different world, however, and Hayden's hoping in this one — the world of 8-man football — it can force a different outcome.

No doubt, the Rams will again be a tough opponent.

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Akron finished the regular season 7-1, then it crushed Belleview Christian, 60-16, on Friday in the cross-divisional round to earn a spot in the playoffs.

A glance at the schedule may suggest the Rams were a bit slow to take to 8-man. They beat Granada, the tournament's No. 16 seed, to open the season, but gave up 40 points. A week later they gave up 30 to Fowler, then lost in the fourth week to No. 1 seed and defending state champion Dayspring Christian, 33-30.

No other team came close to offering the Rams a challenge, however, and by season's end, they were firing on offense and defense. They routed their final three regular season opponents, 146-22.

Hayden shares two common opponents with Akron. Both teams lost to Dayspring, the Tigers falling 28-17 early in the season. Both teams crushed Belleview. Hayden won, 70-24, to open the season while Akron actually beat them twice, rattling off a 46-6 victory in September before Friday's rout.

"We'll have our hands full stopping another powerful running game," Baumgartner said. "We're excited to be playing. There are 16 teams that lost this weekend that don't get the opportunity, so we're planning to make the most of it and take advantage of what we have."

A game time hasn't been set, though Baumgartner said a 1 p.m. Saturday game in Akron is likely.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

8-man football schedule

No. 1 Dayspring Christian (9-0) vs. No. 16 Granada (5-4)

No. 2 Hoehne (9-0) vs. No. 15 La Veta (5-3)

No. 3 Akron (8-1) vs. No. 14 Hayden (7-2)

No. 4 Elbert (9-0) vs. No. 13 Haxtun (5-4)

No. 5. Norwood (7-1) vs. No. 12 Fowler (6-3)

No. 6 Walsh (8-1) vs. No. 11 Caliche (7-2)

No. 7 Kiowa (8-1) vs. No. 10 Sargent (7-2)

No. 8 Dove Creek (6-2) vs. No. 9 West Grand (6-3)

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