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For the first time under head coach Bill Arnold the Hayden Wildcats finished with a sub-.500 record.
Hayden went (4-6) last season and aims to rebuild the winning school’s winning tradition.
“I think it’s just like any other year we have a group of kids that are seniors that have waited their turn and feel like they have something to prove,” Arnold said.
The Wildcats managed to make the postseason with a pair of victories in district but fell in the first round to Maize South.
“Hayden football makes me think of tradition and getting to the playoffs,” Hayden senior running back/safety Zach Smith said. “That’s the ultimate goal this year is to win state. Pretty much putting in work and doing whatever we can to get to that goal is what we’re going to do.”
Hayden has a string of playoff appearances and last played for a state championship in 2009, winning it all in 2008.
“We know that we have to be better to improve on last year because we just want to bring that state title,” Hayden senior defensive tackle Xavi Ramos said.
The season opener is Friday night at Seaman.
“The tradition they have here at Hayden is what it’s all about,” Arnold said. “It should carry over from season-to-season, sport-to-sport and this group’s no different.”