The No. 8 Hayden football team was a near certainty to earn a state playoff berth, but a 56 – 42 loss at No. 10 Ft. Thomas last Friday now puts the Lobos in a must-win game this Friday, when they host rival and sixth-ranked Ray.
Effectively, the playoffs begin with this week’s game. A loss doesn’t eliminate Hayden but only the top 12 teams reach the playoffs.
“Friday’s game is not only a rivalry, we need the win to lock a possible playoff spot,” Hayden assistant coach Daniel Cruz told the Copper Basin News. “We cannot hope for the system to just give us a spot, so we are considering it a must-win game.”
Friday night’s high-scoring affair at Ft. Thomas was more what the Apaches did, as opposed to what the Lobos didn’t do. Typically, 42 points wins games, but Ft. Thomas was just a little bit better.
“Ft. Thomas played one of their best games this season,” Cruz said. “We struggled at times on offense and defense but we fought hard.”
“We are very pleased with the effort these kids gave on Friday and give on daily basis.,” Cruz added. “We expect no less this week. Overall, (Ft. Thomas) just played better than us that night and we can’t take that away from them.”
The Lobos are ready for the challenge ahead.
“I guess we are considering it like a state championship game, so we need a perfect effort all week,” said Cruz.
Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.