Hayden holds off Roaring Fork | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden holds off Roaring Fork

Joel Reichenberger
Hayden senior Logan Foster closes in on Roaring Forks' running back Soren Phibbs as fellow senior Coy Letlow clings to his ankles and a slew of Tigers flock to help. Hayden had no trouble scoring points in the game, but it was that the team's defense shined in the first half, helping Hayden to a 34-13 win.
Joel Reichenberger

Take away a pair of Coy Letlow runs and it might have been an interesting night in Hayden on Friday as the Tigers played their football home opener.

Letlow would have had about 20 carries and 85 yards – respectable sure, but every inch would have been bruising and hard fought.

Of course, Letlow’s two big runs – a 52-yarder that set up Hayden’s first touchdown and a 53-yarder scoring run that sealed the game – aren’t going anywhere.

Hayden held off Roaring Fork’s threat to make an exciting fourth quarter Friday night, winning its first game of the season, 34-13. Ugly second half or not, the Tigers were happy to take it after losing the season opener last week.

“It feels great. We had to prove to everyone that last week was a fluke,” senior defensive back Billy Zehner said. “We are a lot better than that, and we wanted to show it.”

That excitement could possibly have been in order seemed ridiculous in the first half.

Letlow and Logan Foster rolled in for two touchdowns each while Zehner led a dominating Tiger defense with two interceptions.

Roaring Fork went to the locker room with three first downs, zero points and little hope.

That all changed quickly in the third quarter. Rams running back Soren Phibbs led a resurgent squad that scored late in the third quarter and moved the ball with ease early in the fourth.

Hayden’s offense, meanwhile, dried up.

Roaring Fork quarterback Ryan Weimer connected with a wide-open Michael Black for the first score, and Phibbs fought his way into the end zone from seven yards for the second.

“We played with a lot more emotion in the second half,” Rams coach Greg Holley said. “We put (Phibbs) behind the strength of our line and ran to it.”

Roaring Fork came close to several other scores, as well. Hayden held on two second-half fourth downs and forced a punt on a third after a clipping call brought a first-down run back.

But then there was Letlow’s last run, with two minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Hayden was without a first down in the second half, and Letlow himself had compiled far more punting yards than he had running.

He changed all that and put the game away with a blast around the right side of the offensive line. He swung wide of a pair of Roaring Fork linebackers, held off the safety and cruised in for the touchdown.

“That’s the way we were looking to play,” Letlow said. “Everything worked. Everyone got to their assignment on that play.”