Hayden battles top-ranked Williams in finale

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Hayden Lobos

  The Hayden football team doesn’t count moral victories, but it gave top-ranked Williams a more competitive game than perhaps some expected.

  The No. 5 Lobos were defeated by the Vikings last Friday night in the regular-season finale for both teams, 40 – 20. It was the Vikings’ second smallest margin of victory – they beat Mogollon earlier this season, 42 – 40. The 20 points scored by the Lobos were also the second most allowed by Williams.

  “I was satisfied with our play,” Hayden head coach John Estrada said. “Our kids played tough. Once again, our mistakes hurt us. Take those away and the outcome could have been different.

  “It was harsh conditions. The field was wet, and it was cold,” he added. Not taking anything away from Williams, they are a good team, but we’re right there as well. We may get another chance at them.”

  Hayden earned the No. 5 seed in the 1A playoffs that being this Friday, Oct. 19, when the Lobos will host No. 12 Anthem Prep. It could be argued that the Lobos deserved the No. 4-seed and a first-round bye.

  “I’m happy with our seed,” Estrada said. Of course, a No. 4-seed would have been better for us, but it is what it is.

  “We’ll need to take one game at a time. Our focus is on Anthem Prep this week. They are a much better team than a 12-seed.”

  Anthem Prep is big and has a quarterback who can throw, according to Estrada. The Lobos are counting on a home-field advantage to advance to the next round.

  “We’re hosting a game in Hayden,” Estrada said. “That hasn’t happened in a while.

  “Our kids earned this, especially our seniors,” he continued. “They’ve worked extensively hard this year and I’m very proud of them. It’s good for our program, our community, and Hayden High School. We’ll just need to play our best football from here on out and finish strong.”

Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Andy Luberda (1106 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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