Thomas Baker, an eighth-grader at Craig Middle School, runs around the end against Hayden on Thursday at the CMS football field. Baker returned a kick for a touchdown, and the seventh- and eighth-grade teams from CMS beat Hayden, 46-24.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Thomas Baker, an eighth-grader at Craig Middle School, runs around the end against Hayden on Thursday at the CMS football field. Baker returned a kick for a touchdown, and the seventh- and eighth-grade teams from CMS beat Hayden, 46-24.

Craig Middle School football downs Hayden, 46-24

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— Playing against their closest rivals Thursday, the football teams from Craig Middle School wore out Hayden en route to a 46-24 final score.

It was a unique game at the CMS football field, as Hayden has just one middle school team, so Craig’s seventh- and eighth-graders split their time on the field, playing six quarters instead of four. With the goal of getting as many players as possible on the field, coaches were happy to accomplish that goal as well as score some points.

The eighth-grade team took the field first for the Bulldogs, and after forcing a turnover, Spencer Brown finished off the team’s opening drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. It would be the only score of the opening frame.

In the second, the seventh-graders surrendered a lengthy touchdown run and were driving down the field with good passing from quarterback Conner Murphy but were unable to get a score on the board before time ran out in the first half.

Thomas Baker gave the Bulldogs a shot in the arm to open the third quarter, running back the opening kickoff to make it 12-6. Head coach Norm Yoast was happy with the way his second-string players performed.

“We were looking to get as many guys in as possible and get some runs for our younger and smaller kids, and we saw some good things,” Yoast said. “They got out there, and they ran the offense.”

In the fourth quarter, both teams got it going on offense. The Tigers had another lengthy touchdown run to tie the game at 12, but the CMS seventh-graders had the answer, as Victor Silva Hernandez forced a fumble on Hayden’s next possession and Colby Beaver scored from 13 yards out.

Silva Hernandez later would find the edge on a sweep and score a touchdown of his own, making it 26-18.

In the fifth and sixth quarters, the Tigers began to look fatigued as the Bulldogs continued to send different groups of players into the game for a few plays at a time. They were happy to have a competitive game and get just about everybody some time on the field.

“The point of the game was to get kids playing time,” said Matt Ray, the seventh-grade head coach. “So we got pretty much everybody out there, and they got some experience.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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