David Pressgrove: A Palisadian effort

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Three columns in one week might seem like too much, but I have one more aspect of today's game left to write about.

I haven't voiced how I think the game will go.

I'm going to warn you though, it's not all flowery for the home team.

When I saw that Niwot would be Moffat County High School's opponent, one previous game came to mind.

At first, I thought of last year's game in the Class 3A state quarterfinals when Steamboat Springs hosted the undefeated D'Evelyn Jaguars. That game has more than a couple of similarities with today's contest.

The Jaguars came to the Yampa Valley with the idea that their regular season domination would continue. Just as Niwot has dominated its conference, D'Evelyn's closest game in the regular season was a 14-point win. The Cougars also were coming off a 30-3 win against Alamosa in the first round.

The Sailors popped D'Evelyn in the mouth early in the first half and won 22-0 in the snow. Looking at the numbers, these two games relate. An undefeated, confident Front Range winner travels to the second-place Western Slope League finisher and ... well, do you smell what I'm cookin'?

Now though, I think this game is different.

Niwot is a lot more for real than D'Evelyn was.

The Cougar's Tri-Valley league is a better league this year than D'Evelyn's Metro league last year.

This will be the toughest test of the season for Moffat County.

With that comparison no longer valid, I found a different game from which to draw comparisons.

In another 3A quarterfinal last year, Palisade took on Fountain-Fort Carson.

Palisade trailed three times but scored six points in the final quarter to win 22-20. That game was Palisade's toughest on its way to a championship. The maroon Bulldogs weren't the bigger or faster team, but they had patience and didn't panic when they were behind. Sound familiar? Palisade won in similar fashion four times this year.

It doesn't appear as if Moffat County is the smaller team this week, but I do think the Bulldogs have fewer outstanding athletes. Their linebacking corps is basically four clones of Scott Garoutte.

It is going to take a Palisadian effort for the Bulldogs to move on through the playoffs. They're probably going to trail a couple of times. They're probably going to get burnt on pass coverage a couple of times. But if they're going to win, they're going to have to be resilient.

Despite a few Bulldog pluses, I still think the advantage on paper goes to the Cougars.

Casebier said his team has made a habit out of beating teams they shouldn't. If the Bulldogs hope to continue to their goal of a state championship they are in need of a Palisadian effort.

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