Hayden football coach Chris Carson’s feelings Tuesday evening at Woodbury Sports Complex were better expressed through one of his players, namely his 11-year-old son, Christian.
“We’re going to the kids’ Super Bowl!” Christian shouted after the final whistle blew.
And, he shouted it several more times in case anybody hadn’t heard him.
Hayden’s fifth- and sixth-grade Doak Walker team clinched the second seed in the league, and a spot in the championship game, after a 22-14 victory over the Chargers.
Ahead 7-6 at halftime, Hayden’s Tigers were prepared to hold on to their one-point lead, and hopefully add to it.
Holding strong against the Chargers through the third quarter, Hayden pulled ahead further with back-to-back touchdowns by quarterback/linebacker Issac Maestas.
Maestas’ first score was the result of a long run, while the second came from a midfield interception that he ran all the way back.
Maestas, 11, was all over the field, serving not only as quarterback but also middle linebacker, kicker and primary kick returner.
New to the Hayden team, Maestas recently moved to Hayden from Palisade.
“Whoever coached him in the past did a great job,” Chris said. “Every game he’s in, he comes to play.”
Maestas said he was glad to get the chance to go toe-to-toe with the Chargers’ quarterback, 12-year-old Eddie Smercina.
The two frequently butted heads during the game.
“He’s a great hitter,” Maestas said.
Hayden’s victory puts them in the Oct. 12 championship game against the undefeated Bengals. Maestas and his coach both expect the game to be a good one.
“We’re looking forward to playing the Bengals again because they beat us earlier in the season,” Chris said. “I have a feeling that we’re going to win.”
Team member William Lighthizer, 11, said he was glad to be going to the top tier game in his first year of football.
“It’s a good feeling to get to go to the championship as a rookie,” he said.
Lighthizer, who plays tight end on offense in addition to playing defensive tackle and end, said he expects the game against the Bengals to be a “tight match,” one in which he hopes to get to handle the ball more.
“We did a lot of running in this game because we tried passing against the Chargers last year and we lost,” Lighthizer said. “So I’m told.”
Chris said he wasn’t sure what to expect taking on the Chargers this year, but that would be the same as playing any team.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “But, these kids were fantastic and they played hard.”
Chris said whatever the outcome of the championship, he was glad to get the opportunity for Hayden to play.
“We’re just so glad that Craig lets us participate in this,” he said.