Delta better than its record shows

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Last year, Delta quarterback Kyle Clanton threw for more than 200 yards against Moffat County. Clanton is back this year as the main threat in tonight's game in Delta.

"He's a good athlete who is shifty and creates," Moffat County coach Kip Hafey said. "They have a balanced offense."

Despite their 0-5 record, the Panthers have proven they can compete with the best of them. The Panthers put up more points (13) than any other team has against No. 1-ranked Palisade two weeks ago.

"We played a great first half against Palisade," coach Bruce Keith said. "Then we came out with an early turnover in the second half, and we never recovered."

Palisade won the game, 41-13.

"We're a young team that is very sporadic," Keith said. "Kyle leads our guys well, but there are times when we have no seniors on the field."

The Panthers are hosting a Bulldog team that has a losing record in the Western Slope League for the first time in five years.

That doesn't make Keith feel any better.

"Moffat County is a very good football team," he said. "They have a steady, hard-nosed defense and an explosive offense."

The Panthers will try to contain the Bulldogs with a 5-2 defense. Hafey said Delta keys off of its defensive ends, including junior Lane Varner, coming hard around the corner.

"We've made some changes on the line this week," he said. "We need to establish the run better this week."

In a 24-23 loss to Steamboat Springs, the Bulldogs went away from their potent passing game because the Sailors were getting too much pressure on quarterback Derek Duran. But the attempt to run the ball yielded less than 3 yards a carry.

"When we run, we need to pick up yards," Hafey said. "We can't get our passing game going if we don't establish the run."

Hafey was confident that his players will be ready to play against the Panthers.

"I think the kids will do the right things," he said. "They are aware of the sense of ur----gency."

The Moffat County team has talked about the need to win at least four of the final five Western Slope League games to make the playoffs. The Delta game is one of those must-wins.

"The effort for our guys was there last week," Hafey said. "They just need to know they have to go hard every play of every game from here on out."

Kickoff for the game is at 7 p.m. today.

The game will be broadcast on 93.7 KRAI.

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