Craig Everybody plays.
At Craig Middle School, football coaches are more apt to see if the kids enjoy the game, rather than see how well they perform.
"We don't want it to get all crazy and complicated for these kids," Craig Middle School assistant coach Ken Olinger said. "This was the first game together for most of these kids."
Like many first games of the season, there were enough mistakes to go around. However, those miscues weren't enough to cost CMS the game.
The Bulldogs won a low-scoring contest, 14-8.
"We had the first-game jitters, but, hey, we came out on top," Olinger said.
"I was impressed with how they handled themselves and how enthusiastic they were to be on the field."
With various motions and a shotgun formation being installed on offense at the high school, CMS coaches break schemes and game plans down to basics.
"We run a 'power I' formation most of the time. We like to pound the ball," Olinger said. "We want them to pick up the football terminology and just get all the basics down."
Olinger emphasizes cutting down on mistakes. Fewer mistakes lead to fewer losses.
"We had the ball inside the Panther 20-yard line three times and came away with nothing," he said. "They practice hard every day, though, and they are picking up the game well."
At the middle school level, it's not all about wins and losses. It's about experience.
"It wasn't the score I was most happy about," said Olinger. "It was the fact that all the kids got a chance to play."
CMS visits rival Steamboat Springs on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 9 a.m.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org