Sizing up the competition

Bulldogs take on Battle Mountain on Friday

Bulldogs coach Kip Hafey knows that after last season, his team can't afford to overlook anyone in the Western Slope League.

"If you overlook a team, you can end up getting bit," Hafey said.

After the Bulldogs overlooked Eagle Valley last year, resulting in a loss and elimination from playoff contention, Hafey isn't taking anything for granted. He is preparing his team carefully for Friday's contest against Battle Mountain in Avon.

"I think a big win will set the tone for the rest of the season," Hafey said Wednesday.

Based on the Huskies' home opener, Hafey said the team looks good on paper and that they have a leg up on size. The Huskies beat Aspen, 35-2, and have had a week and a half to prepare for the Bulldogs.

Battle Mountain coach Pat Engle is in his fourth season with the Huskies and is coming into Friday's game cautiously.

"We have barely gotten a first down against Moffat County (in the past)," Engle said. "We're very concerned about the Bulldogs."

The Huskies have given up 100 points to the Bulldogs in the past two seasons and have been unable to muster enough offense to get a point on the board.

"Hopefully we'll be able to contain their scoring this time," Engle said. "I don't think we can stop it, but hopefully limit it."

Hafey is playing the cautious card this week, as well, and knows that for his team to be successful it has to rise to the occasion.

"Big doesn't mean tough," Hafey said. "We're going to have to step up."

With tailback Nick Navartil back in the lineup, the Bulldogs have a solid plan of attack ready.

"We're going to run to set up the pass," Hafey said. "If we don't have to pass, we're not going to."

Navartil is excited to be back in action after missing out on the Rawlins rout with a minor injury. But, like Hafey, he is not overlooking anyone after last year's loss to Eagle Valley.

"You can't overlook anyone," Navartil said. "The tables can turn fast."

The Huskies run a large series of formations and will occasionally throw a trick play into the mix, but Hafey is confident his team is ready.

"We covered a lot Tuesday," Hafey said.

The Huskies' challenge will be to come out and attack the Bulldogs.

Engle knows that his team is still searching for an identity within the Western Slope, and he hopes that this year is a milestone for his program.

The Bulldogs "are an established football program," Engle said. "It's unfortunate that we have to play them in Game 2."

With solid play from nose guard Punky Carlos in the Aspen game, Engle thinks that the Huskies' defense could step up and play a solid game.

The battle for the Bulldogs will be finding a hole to go through.

"Their nose guard is a big kid," Hafey said.

Carlos had two sacks and 10 tackles against Aspen.

Friday's game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

Bulldogs Offense

The Bulldogs have put up 100 points against the Huskies the past two seasons and have held them to zero points.

Look for coach Kip Hafey to run.

Projected starters

QB-Andrew Drake (6'0", 170) -- This is Drake's first season at quarterback. He produced some good things against Rawlins (117 yards passing).

FB- J.T. Haddan (6'2", 235) -- Haddan is the Bulldogs' workhorse. His ability to pound through the defensive line is critical to Moffat County's running game.

TB- Nick Navratil (6'0", 200) -- It's Navratil's first game of the season, after being out with an injury for the Rawlins game. He's tough, but playing with a brace may take some getting used to.

Bulldogs Defense

Hafey has tightened things up on defense after a poor showing during a preseason scrimmage. Against Rawlins, the Bulldogs held their ground and will look to do the same against the bulky offensive line of the Huskies.

Projected starters

DE- Blake Kawcak (5'10", 195) -- Kawcak will be challenged with the size of the Huskies, but his speed could make the difference.

FS- Andrew Drake (6'0", 170) -- Drake's speed should benefit him against a slower Huskies offense.

OLB- J.T. Haddan (6'2", 235) -- Haddan's strength will make it tough for Huskies' running backs to find holes.

Huskies Offense

Coach Pat Engle is in his fourth season as head coach and has a record of 5-26. He is returning eight starters and has a size advantage.

They run a lot of formations and throw in some trick plays.

Projected starters

QB- Bart Cuomo (6'0", 170) -- After sitting out half of last season with a broken arm, Cuomo will be looking to establish himself as a threat in the pocket.

RB- Ryan Hedrick (6'1", 175) -- He's racked up 243 yards in the 2006 season, but could run into a wall against the Bulldogs.

WR-Todd Walker (5'10", 160) -- If the Huskies want to establish a passing game, Walker will have to be a big target.

Huskies Defense

Engle will look to nose guard Punky Carlos as the stability of his defensive line. Carlos' size will help plug the holes Moffat County's line will try to establish.

Projected starters

NG- Punky Carlos (5'10"/300) -- Carlos had two sacks and 10 tackles in the season opener. He's thick and quick.

ILB- Jamie Hijmans (6'2", 210) -- Hijmans is a one-way starter, which should help the Huskies keep fresh legs on the field.He's quick and hits hard.

OLB- Bart Clark (6'2"/195) -- Clark has speed, so the Huskies' 3-4 defense will have a chance to blitz the Bulldogs.

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