If you go
What: MCHS football at Montezuma-Cortez
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Montezuma-Cortez High School, 206 W. 7th Street, Cortez
• For more information call 970-824-7036
Craig Losing five games in a row and being knocked out of the playoff hunt isn't enough to deter the Moffat football team from competing.
The question coach Kip Hafey faces this week when the Bulldogs travel to Cortez to face the Panthers is whether his players are going to fight for a victory, or give up on the season.
"We want to see if the kids are going to just stand there with their hands on their pads," he said. "Or if they are going to show up and keep on fighting."
Although the playoffs are now out of reach, Hafey said there is plenty left to play for.
"There is still the possibility for these kids to make an all-state team or an all-league team," he said. "You've got to give it all you've got, all the time."
Hafey also said that players without post-season awards possibilities have the opportunity to make a large impact, as well.
"The nondescript guys can help the higher profile kids," he said. "You can throw the block that leads to an Eli Buckner 80-yard run.
"We have got to play as a team."
Cortez coach Tom Adair isn't downplaying the importance of this week's game against the Bulldogs, although his team is in the Cellar of the Western Slope League at 0-6, 1-6 overall.
"We are going to come out and fight," he said. "We are going to try and take everything and anything they will give us.
"We play to win."
On the offensive
side of the ball
The Bulldogs will continue to run their multiple sets on offense in an attempt to confuse the Panthers.
"We have been successful with what we have been running," Hafey said. "The scoreboard isn't necessarily an indication of that, though."
The Bulldogs have been plagued by short-yardage situations on fourth down as of late; an issue Hafey said he has addressed this week.
"We've been preaching to the o-line that they must stay on their blocks," he said. "One let down and a third-and-two, turns into a fourth-and-six.
"We need to sustain that pressure up front."
Sophomore Matt Linsacum has been penciled in as the starter for the remainder of the year. With the quarterback having a powerful throwing arm, Hafey is looking for more opportunities to throw the deep ball against Cortez.
According to the coach, time of possession is the key.
"If we can keep the ball out of their offense's hands," he said, "it should frustrate their defense."
On the defensive
side of the ball
Defensive coordinator Lance Scranton displayed his flexibility last week against Delta, frequently throwing multiple blitz packages at the Panthers.
The plan was effective if not for the two passes thrown over the top of the Bulldog defense when it was on the move. Scranton's answer: zone blitzes.
"The blitz was effective for us, but it left our secondary guessing," he said. "We will do the same, but our DBs will have to be smart. They need to focus on their three-step reads."
The three-step read is when the defensive backs take three steps backwards on the snap, then read the play and adjust accordingly. Pass - stay back, run - come in.
"All it takes is a little too much hesitation," Scranton said, "and all of a sudden their receivers are by us. We can't let that happen."
Scranton said the team has got to play for respect, pointing to character and trust as fundamentals with three games left to go.
"There is no next season for these kids," he said. "We've got to earn respect now."