Tigers football hopes to close season with win | SteamboatToday.com

Tigers football hopes to close season with win

— It’s a sensation that’s motivational and frustrating, Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said.

His team will travel for a 7 p.m. game today in Kremmling that, at least as far as the playoff brackets are concerned, does not matter. Neither Hayden nor West Grand has any hopes of making the postseason, and when the final buzzer sounds and the game ends, so will the 2009 football season for both programs.

Still, Baumgartner said the Tigers (3-5) were bent on going out with a win.

“There’s definitely no pressure, but it’s a game we just really want to play well in,” he said. “They’re a team like us that doesn’t have a great record this year, but we know they’ll be up for the game just like we will be.”

Hayden has stumbled through the season since it leapt to a 2-0 start. Most recently, the Tigers lost, 36-7, at home against Meeker. It was the fifth consecutive game in which the team scored one touchdown or less.

“It takes consistency and execution. That’s what it really comes down to,” Baumgartner said about the sputtering offense. “Last week we could move the ball one play, then the next have a breakdown somewhere. We are still needing to find that consistency.”

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Hayden will find a similarly downtrodden opponent tonight.

West Grand was 2-2 after its first four games but lost four straight, three of those by more than 30 points.

The team played closer a week ago but still lost to Rangely, 19-14, and is en route to its third losing season in four years.

Still, the Tigers have firsthand experience proving that the Mustangs can rear up and provide a shock.

Hayden beat up on West Grand, 47-12, last season in Hayden but took one of its best-ever teams into Kremmling two years ago and came away with a loss.

In fact, losing at West Grand has become a trend Baumgartner is eager to stop.

“I called some of the former coaches, and we couldn’t figure out the last time a Hayden team has won over there,” Baumgartner said. “We thought we had a really good team (in 2007) and they still found a way to beat us over there.

“Whether or not our team is going to the playoffs, it still has a chance to make history.”

Although that thought provides plenty of motivation, simply ending the season with a win is still the Tigers’ driving force.

“For our seniors, this is the last one, the last chance to go out on a winning note,” Baumgartner said. “This is the one they will remember. And for the underclassmen, this is the one they will have to live with for the next year. If they win, it will springboard them into next season, and that can be really important.”

If you go

What: Hayden High School football (3-5) at West Grand (2-6)

When: 7 p.m.

Where: West Grand High School in Kremmling