When he watched the tape of the Moffat County High School vs. Palisade football game, Pueblo West football coach Keith Lane couldn't help but have flashbacks.
"I'm familiar with hearing the crowd go silent when a last-second play ruins the night," he said. "We've had a lot of close games slip away the last two years."
Except for a 45-0 loss to Grand Junction Central in the third week of the season, Lane said his team has competed closely with every opponent it has faced this year. They only have been able to come out on the winning end twice in eight games.
"It has come down to three or four plays each game," he said. "That's been our capsule of the year."
The Cyclones have lost six straight after opening the season with wins against D' Evelyn and Class 5A Coronado. Moffat County coach Kip Hafey said his Bulldogs were preparing for a team that runs the ball well, particularly the option.
"We've gone to a 5-3 defense this week," Hafey said. "I think it will allow for the defensive ends to a have bit more freedom and a pass rush."
Previously the Bulldog defense ran a 6-2, and the ends had pass coverage responsibilities. Now the three linebackers have the pass coverage duties.
The Cyclones have had to make their own adjustments this week, mostly because of injuries.
Lane said his team is banged up but, "there will be no lack of fight from our guys."
The Bulldogs aren't 100 percent either. Junior quarterback Derek Duran is sitting out this week after suffering a concussion during the Bulldogs' 28-14 defeat of Rifle.
Senior Tyler Pike will fill in for Duran on offense, and junior Daniel Cramblett will have starting duties at defensive back.
"I think we'll still be able to do whatever we need to on offense," Hafey said. "Tyler is capable of doing the job."
The most challenging job Lane sees for his team is in line play.
"In the last five years (Moffat) is one of the biggest teams we've seen," he said. "We played a big Fountain (Fort Carson) team last year and Grand Junction was big too, but Moffat's line might be the biggest we've played."
But there are ways to beat size.
"You can always open up a hole," Lane said. "We aren't going to move them much but we can still seal our blocks to make room."
The Bulldogs left Thursday for a unique road trip. This morning they started the day in Boulder with a practice on Folsom Field, the home field for the University of Colorado. Then will then pack up and head to Pueblo.
"The kids are pumped about getting to be on the CU field," Hafey said.
"It will be a good trip for bonding and it will prepare us for a road trip during the playoffs."
Preparing for a relatively unknown, nonleague opponent is also similar to a playoff experience, Hafey said.
The kickoff is scheduled at 4 p.m. at Pueblo West High School.