If the ability of the younger teams continues to the varsity level, the next Moffat County football squads will be big, with good defenses.
At least that's the report from the coaches in charge of the freshman and JV football teams this year. The success of the 2004 Moffat County varsity football team was often related to the size of offensive and defensive lines. With some hard work, this year's freshman line could be the next big thing, freshman football coach Matt Ray said.
"Our line was tough for a freshman group," Ray said. "We were also big for freshmen." What hurt the team were injuries.
"We had everything from an inner ear problem to injured ribs," he said. "And the injuries happened to key players."
The combined strengths and weaknesses equated to a 5-4 record.
"Our guys were worn down toward the end of the season," Ray said. "We had three games in seven days, and it took its toll."
The team's losses came against Rifle, Palisade, Glenwood Springs and Roosevelt, Utah. The Bulldogs held leads in their losses to the Bears and Roosevelt. The Demons and Palisade dominated in the other losses. "Glenwood was stronger, and Palisade was quicker off the ball," Ray said. "If the kids hit the weights program we have for them, they can get better in both aspects."
Ray said he expected the group would follow through. "These guys would do anything we asked of them," he said. "They never had gripes or any questions, and they have the motivation to do well in football." The team has 27 members, which was the deepest team Ray has coached.
"We went 18 or 19 deep," he said. "Now the guys just need to figure out what position they'll play and work on getting better at that one position."
The JV team finishes its season today with a game against Grand Junction Central. "The guys gave us everything they had all year," coach John Haddan said. "I expect to see the same thing against Central."
The JV team had a hard time getting games this year. Two teams canceled against them, and several league teams didn't want to play games.
"It would be nice if we could have a schedule that mirrored the varsity," Coach Ron Linsacum said.
"It's unfair to these guys to come out and bust their butts in practice but never get to play much." When they did play, the Bulldogs finished 2-2-1. They had a rare tie in a game against Palisade. "Our defense didn't allow more than 12 points against a JV team," said Haddan, the defensive coordinator. "They did a good job of stopping people."
Linsacum was impressed with his offense's ability to come together. "The offense progressed the most in its cohesiveness," he said. "We had to have guys play a lot of different positions, but in the end they came together."
The varsity graduates 16 seniors so there will be spots available for next year.
"There should be some guys who need to step up and start at the varsity level," Haddan said.
"Overall they really need to get in the weight room. That could be said for the program top to bottom."