Bulldog Beat: Separating the contenders

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— Last week separated the contenders from the pretenders in the world of Moffat County High School sports.

Some teams kept on rolling, while others are looking ahead to next year.

Let's take a look.

Volleyball

Two more victories have put the Bulldog win streak at 11. Can anyone stop this team?

I think not.

Two games are left on the schedule, and I don't expect any upsets in the making, as long as the girls don't play down to the level of their competition.

Moffat almost slipped against winless Rifle, falling behind, two games to one, before turning on the afterburners to pull away.

Complacency is now the issue, with confidence at the forefront; too much of it could mean overlooking inferior opponents. I highly doubt coach-of-the-year candidate Brianna Montgomery will let that happen.

There is still no state ranking. The Bulldogs will have to win through the districts to impress the big boys in Denver. If they were to watch these girls in action, I'd bet they'd have a change of heart.

If they keep the No. 2 spot in the Western Slope, look for the Bulldogs to host the first round of districts.

Football

Friday's loss to Delta on Friday placed the Bulldog losing streak at five games. The team has yet to find any rhythm on offense, with Eli Buckner the only consistency.

The return of Travis Daniels had an immediate impact, as the senior recorded 12 tackles and the Bulldogs' lone sack in the game. If only they could clone him and Travis Wilson :

Sophomore Matt Linsacum proved he is ready for the big-time, despite only five pass completions. He throws a nice ball and coach Hafey obviously sees something good in him to bench senior Jake Bricker this late in the season.

No chance at the playoffs for this squad. If they were in the NFL, they would be playing for draft positioning.

Alas, they are not, so I guess its time to see what the younger kids have got.

Can we suit up the CMS squad?

Soccer

This team has found its niche. Two wins in a row don't seem like much, but it only won two games all of last year. That win total has doubled this season, with two remaining games left on the schedule. Coach Seth Young took a little time to get this unit to gel, but the first-year coach deserves praise for turning this squad around.

Today's home match against Steamboat is the team's most important contest of the year. Four teams from the Western Slope League make the playoffs, and a victory places Moffat in the final slot. They may need a little help as they travel to defending league champ Battle Mountain on Thursday. The Bulldogs are tied with Eagle Valley, so any Moffat victory paired with a Devils loss is good news.

Leading goal-scorer Armando Lopez missed Saturday's victory against Palisade, but should return for the Steamboat match. The Bulldogs will need him. Lopez has tallied 12 goals on the season but has missed three games.

The Bulldogs were outscored, 17-2, in his absence.

Cross-country

The team enters Saturday's regional in Delta in peak form.

Two weeks ago, Alicia Nelson won her third individual title, and this week, Mike NcNicol equaled her, with his third. The Bulldog boys and girls squads each captured the team titles in Lafayette.

The team has made great strides throughout the course of the season, according to coach Todd Trapp.

Trapp said each runner is at least 20 seconds faster than when the season kicked off, attributing the quickness to hard work.

With the top three teams at regionals qualifying for the state championship, the Bulldogs will have a challenge. Summit High and Glenwood Springs each are ranked in the top 10 in the state. That leaves the Bulldogs in a battle with Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain. Moffat has beaten both in recent meets, but regionals are a more pressure-packed scenario.

Look for the girls' team to make the biggest push. Freshmen Nike Cleverly and Mady Jourgensen will push the team into the top three. The top 15 individual runners for boys and girls also advance to the state championships, where Alicia Nelson and Mike McNicol look to be locks to move forward.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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