Devils look for extra help against Bulldogs

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Eagle Valley High School football coach John Ramunno has some tricks up his sleeve for the game against Moffat County.

"We're going to play 14 players on the field until the referees notice," he said. "Then we're going to disguise a couple of guys as jack rabbits and they'll run on the field to make plays."

Rammuno was kidding, but he is serious about how outsized his Devils will be against the Bulldogs.

"We're going up against a big team," he said. "We're going to have to try to use our speed."

The Devils and Battle Mountain joined the Western Slope League in Class 3A this year, and both teams did not receive a kind welcoming last week in their league openers. Rifle scorched Eagle Valley, 54-14, and the Bulldogs devoured the Huskies, 53-0.

"It was a tough timing for us to move up into such a tough league," Ramunno said. "We had two solid senior classes leave before this year, and now we're more in a rebuilding mode."

Three seniors that return from last year's Class 2A playoff team are defensive backs Brad Gamble and David Hernandez and offensive lineman Brian Saldana. The speed of the defensive backfield is what Ramunno said is one of his team's strengths.

On offense, the Devils run a double-wing set. They have two slot backs offset on the line and two running backs. It's an offense that the Bulldogs faced last year against Glenwood Springs.

"They run a lot of fakes so our linebackers need to stay home," Bulldog coach Kip Hafey said. "It takes patience and heads up play against this offense."

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the Bulldogs are the only team in Colorado to have pitched two shutouts in the first two weeks. Hafey said they haven't talked about keeping the team out of the end zone, but it is more of an unspoken goal.

"We know eventually someone will score, and we'll have to turnaround and come right back," he said. "But I think it is a nice challenge for the defense to keep the shutout going."

The offensive numbers haven't been too shabby either for the fourth-ranked Bulldogs. They are third in passing and rushing in the state. With that, the Devils should be better than the previous two opponents, just on experience alone.

"They were a playoff team in 2A," Hafey said. "So they know how to win."

The injury list is empty for the Bulldogs but sickness was a factor in practice this week.

"I don't think we went a day without missing a starter on offense," Hafey said.

"So timing on offense will be a key for us."

The Bulldogs will attempt to go 3-0 tonight at 7 p.m. today against the 0-2 Devils.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or at dpressgrove@craigdailypress.

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