MCHS fall sports season begins Monday

— The Moffat County High School golf team got an early jump on the fall sports season when it began practice Aug. 4.

Now, the rest of the Bulldogs athletic teams have to play catch up.

Monday marks the first day cross country, football, soccer and volleyball teams are able to hit the fields and courts.

And their respective coaches are jumping in feet first.

Three-a-days for some, and two-a-days for others are what's on deck for MCHS athletes.

Bulldog volleyball coach Brianna Montgomery has lined up three-a-day practices for her squad the first three days of the week, tapering down to one practice Friday when cuts will be made and rosters set.

"The girls have improved a lot over this summer," Montgomery said. "This summer has been really good. We've had a lot of girls attend open gyms and lifting and work really hard. I'm excited" the season's getting back into gear.

Heading into her second full season at the helm, Montgomery said her expectations are high.

And, for good reason.

The volleyball team reeled off 17 consecutive wins last season on its way to a district playoff birth.

Montgomery was named Western Slope League coach of the year and all six starters were named to the WSL all-conference team.

Despite the team losing five of those starters to graduation, Montgomery is confident the team can pick up where it left off.

"I've learned a lot of things," she said. "I don't know if I've changed my philosophy. I mean, I still expect us to go out on the court and play well each and every game we play."

For the Bulldog football team, coach Kip Hafey is the first to admit this season will be a difficult adjustment from years past.

The MCHS boys of the gridiron return just three starters.

"It's going to be tough on us this year," Hafey said. "A lot of the teams we are playing against are senior-laden teams, and we're not. We have a lot of young kids that are going to have step up."

Hafey said he isn't making roster cuts this year, but that doesn't mean the team isn't going to be working hard.

"We don't cut anybody," he said. "We want to give as many kids as we can an opportunity to experience Moffat County football. We want kids to come out. Regardless of your ability, whether it's excellent or below average, there is a place for you on our team."

The first week of official practice will culminate with a blue/white scrimmage game at 7 p.m. Friday at MCHS.

The defense will wear blue, the offense white.

Hafey is encouraging all football fans to attend.

"By all means, we are Moffat County blue-collar football," he said. "We have the reputation, and people know, that we are going to come out and hit you."

The cross country team will participate in two-a-day practices for the first two weeks of the season.

Because the school year starts a week later than usual, Coach Todd Trapp said he is running the team harder and longer.

"We usually have one week of two-a-days," he said. "But, we're going two weeks this year."

Trapp said he's excited for the season to begin, especially when considering the returning members of the girls team.

"My expectations are pretty high for the girls team this year," he said. "We have a lot of varsity runners returning. You are always looking to improve on the last year."

The boys team took some hits because of graduation, but Trapp said he is optimistic they won't be far behind the girls.

"The boys worked really hard this summer," he said. "They are definitely coming around."

The boys soccer team went through changes at the top of this past off season, with Rusty Cox and Shannon Buchanan taking over for Seth Young and Alegra Yager.

Cox has scheduled one practice a day this week, using the time to feel out his new team.

Despite his unfamiliarity to the MCHS program, Cox is familiar with many of the players on the Bulldog roster from his days coaching the U-14 squad.

"I'm ready to get the season under way," he said. "We are going to change the way people look at Bulldogs soccer. We are going to start over and build a solid, winning program that hopefully will be dominant like the younger program."

This weekend will be the last weekend for MCHS fall athletes to relax and enjoy their summer vacation.

Come Monday, it's back to work.

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