Bulldog projected starters
QB Matt Linsacum
RB Lyle Schaffner
FB Pablo Salcido
WB Jasen Kettle
WR Scott Mann
TE Brady Connor
LT Casey Martin
LG Cody Adams
C Jeremiah Gorgon
RG Gage Spears
RT Angelo Raftopoulas
DT Hunter Zellers
DT Justin Benedict
NG Joshua Wilde
LB Halen Raymond
LB Brian Ivy
LB Colin Walt
LB Jordan Wilson
LB Lyle Schaffner
CB Nathan Tomlin
CB Richard McCoy
FS Scott Mann
Spartans projected starters
QB Jordan Major
RB Bryce Munoz
RB Greg Glasser
WR Tye Duncan
WR Danny McGinn
WR Jeff Shields
LT Eagan Ayala
LG David Pott
C Jared Wikry
RG Brad Dick
RT Nick Frank
DE Logan Orr
DE Ryan Gomez
DT Brock Reimenschiedner
DT Jacob Bauer
LB Ben Osborne
LB Nick Henderson
LB Bryce Baker
CB Kent Flynn
CB Trent McConkey
FS Greg Mulder
SS Marcus Mathieson
Moffat County at a glance
Coach: Kip Hafey
Hafey with Bulldogs: seventh season
2007 record: 3-10 overall, 2-6 Western Slope League
Career record (overall): 37-32-1
Hafey's three keys to victory:
• Ball control. Hafey said the Moffat County offense needs to "eat up the clock" against the Spartans. The longer the ball is kept out of Berthoud's high-powered offense, the better.
• Turnovers. Moffat County needs to hang onto the ball, Hafey said. If the team gives the ball away, the game will follow.
• Forced turnovers. Hafey said the Bulldog defense needs to force turnovers against the Spartans, minimizing Berthoud's scoring opportunities.
Berthoud at a glance
Coach: Dan McGinn
McGinn with Spartans: eighth season
2007 record: 12-2 overall, 6-2 Tri-Valley Conference (3A state champions)
Career record (overall): 41-36
McGinn's three keys to victory:
• Turnovers. McGinn said his team has to stay away from mistakes, and turning the ball over is the biggest mistake they could make.
• Penalties. If the Spartans can stay clear of foolish penalties, McGinn said his team's chances of a victory increase.
• Offensive time of possession. The longer the Spartans offense has control of the ball, fewer touches - and subsequent opportunities to score - will result for the Bulldogs.
As coach of the Moffat County football team, Kip Hafey knows Friday's match-up at Berthoud won't be easy.
The Bulldogs and Spartans are evenly matched right now - considering the game is the season-opener for each - and both teams start off with identical records.
But, the similarities end there.
Berthoud - the No. 1 ranked 3A high school football team in the state - returns 15 starters from its state title winning team of a year ago.
Moffat County, on the other hand, returns just five, only one of them a senior.
Despite the glaring differences, Hafey is optimistic.
"We are going to go into this game just like we go into every other game," Hafey said. "We're going to try to win. We know the odds are stacked against us. But, every game, every time we take the field, our goal is to win that game.
"We are going to go hard, give it our best shot, and hopefully some good things will happen for us."
Berthoud coach Dan McGinn isn't overlooking the Bulldogs.
He said Moffat County is always a tough challenge for his team, and although the Spartans are 2007 defending champions, last year was last year.
"We've had a good summer," McGinn said. "But, these kids realize this is a new team, a new year, and what happened last year was wonderful, but you can't dwell on the past, because if you worry about things in the past, those things will come up and bite you.
"We have been working really hard and we are focused on week one here against Moffat County."
Because the teams haven't played a game yet this season, Hafey and McGinn weren't afforded the luxury of exchanging game film.
But each coach said they have an idea of what the opposition runs on each side of the ball and have been able to prepare off of past experience.
Moffat County on the offensive side of the ball:
Hafey switched last year's spread option-style-attack to a ground-and-pound system.
The Bulldogs will run a Wing T offense, using three running backs with misdirection and fakes at the forefront of the attack. The Spartans will counter Moffat County with a 4-3 defense - four down lineman and three linebackers.
Junior quarterback Matt Linsacum will get a shot at calling the plays in the huddle. The Bulldogs' lone returning senior - Lyle Schaffner - gets the nod at halfback, joining fullback Pablo Salcido and speedy wingback Jasen Kettle.
The Wing T also features a tight end - Brady Connor - whom Hafey said will primarily be used as a blocker.
Junior Scott Mann is Moffat County's receiving threat.
The offensive line is young, with four sophomores getting the start.
Casey Martin is at left tackle, Cody Adams is beside him at left guard, Gage Spears will man the right guard position and Angelo Raftopoulos is starting at right tackle. Wedged in the middle is junior Jeremiah Gordon at center.
"We have a young and inexperienced team," Hafey said. "But that doesn't mean we're not going to go after it. We've said all season that two good fakes are just as good as a block, so, hopefully, we can keep them guessing at where the ball will be."
Moffat County on the defensive side of the ball:
Defensive coordinator Lance Scranton's staple defense - the 35 - is designed specifically for offenses such as Berthoud's.
Moffat County looks to counter the Spartans' spread-option-attack - a shotgun formation with three receivers and two running backs, along with a scrambling quarterback - with three down lineman and five linebackers.
Junior Hunter Zellers and sophomore Justin Benedict line up at defensive tackle on both sides of junior nose guard Joshua Wilde.
The Bulldog line-backing corps could be the team's most experienced.
Senior Lyle Schaffner joins juniors Halen Raymond, Brian Ivy and Jordan Wilson, along with first-year starter sophomore Colin "C.J." Walt.
Juniors Nathan Tomlin and Richard McCoy start at cornerback, and junior Scott Mann will be relied upon deep, at the free safety position.
Scranton said Mann also will have spy responsibilities on Berthoud's scrambling senior quarterback, Jordan Major.
"We are going to have to disguise our coverages against a spread team like Berthoud," Scranton said. "We are just going to try to bring as much pressure as we can, while still maintaining the integrity for the pass."
Scranton said the task will be difficult, but if everybody plays within the system, all should bode well for the Bulldogs.
"Everybody has a read," he said. "Reading tackles, reading guards and everybody has to be in the right spot. If we do that, we'll be OK."
Bulldogs - Chet Harvey (sophomore) ankle, Aaron Nielson (junior) shoulder, Todd Stewart (junior) tonsils, Nathan Chapman (sophomore) unavailable. Spartans - none
Bulldogs - Nathan Chapman (sophomore). Spartans - none
This is the fourth meeting between the teams during both coaches' tenures : Berthoud won last season's game, 38-7 : The Spartans won 48-28 in 2006 : Moffat County knocked Berthoud from the playoffs in 2003, shutting out the Spartans, 25-0, in the first round : The teams are scheduled to play in Craig in 2009.