Eye-opener for some Bulldogs

Before Friday's opener against Rawlins, Wyo., Moffat County senior Reid Hanneman had scored one varsity touchdown.

In the Bulldog's 27-7 win, he doubled that total with a 31-yard pass reception for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"(The one Friday) was much better because I feel I helped the team more," Hanneman said. "The first one was when the JV was in and we had already won the game."

Hanneman's first score was during the closing minutes of the Rawlins game last year. Junior Andrew Drake's only prior touchdown also came in the closing part of last year's Rawlins game.

On Friday he scored twice, one on a 10-yard pass and the other on a 42-yard interception return.

"I expected to score but not the team's first points of the year," he said. "And I really didn't expect to score on defense."

Hanneman and Drake were two of 11 Bulldogs on Friday who started for the first time in a varsity game.

For most of the players, they were making the jump from junior varsity to varsity, but for sophomore JT Haddan, he was playing in his first varsity game after playing primarily on the freshman team last year.

"It's a lot faster tempo," he said. "The intensity is high throughout the game."

The coaching staff reviewed tape during the weekend and said most of the things they saw from inexperience were players not going after it every play.

"Our guys have to understand at the varsity level that you have to go hard every play," head coach Kip Hafey said. "Even our guys who are the fourth option on offense need to run their routes to take the safety with them."

Hanneman said he was one of those guys.

"I need to not take (a break during) plays next game," he said. "At the varsity level, the team depends on everyone to do their job more."

Drake said that at the JV and freshman level, a player can get away with not following a block, but in varsity, "The opponent is smart and experienced enough that they definitely will stop you if you don't follow your block."

The junior also made a mistake when he intercepted a ball on fourth down. If he had knocked it down instead, his team would have received the ball 10 yards up the field.

"I have to be more aware of what down it is every play," he said. "In general, you have to be more aware."

Defensive coach Lance Scranton said the tape showed times when the right gaps weren't being filled or players would stop before the play ended.

"They have to work together better," he said. "The varsity level is a lot more about the group."

Hafey said there would be a focus this week on finishing plays.

"I believe we'll play a lot better at Battle Mountain because the kids will have it drilled in their head that they have to go hard every play," he said. "That didn't happen all the time against Rawlins because there were guys who stood and watched as tackles were being made. Those are the guys who might jar the ball loose or recover a fumble if they're there."

The win was the fourth in a row against Rawlins for the Bulldogs. They open Western Slope League play against Battle Mountain on Friday. The Huskies whooped Class 1A South Park 47-0 in their opener.

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