Homecoming spoilers

MCHS football looks to steal second-consecutive victory at Eagle Valley

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MCHS football at Eagle Valley

  • Friday, October 3, 2008, 7 p.m.
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At a glance

Moffat County

Coach: Kip Hafey

Hafey with Bulldogs: seventh season

2008 record: 2-3 overall, 2-2 Western Slope League

PPG: 22.2

Opp. PPG: 32.8

Streak: won one

Career record at Moffat County (overall): 40-31

Hafey vs. Eagle Valley: 2-2

Hafey's keys to victory:

• Time of possession. Since both offenses are geared toward the running game, Hafey said the Bulldogs need to win the battle of the clock to keep Eagle Valley off the field.

• Turnovers. Hafey said if his defense can create turnovers by the Devils, and quiet the Eagle Valley homecoming crowd, his team's chance of a victory increases.

• Third down stops. The Bulldogs gave up too many first downs in third-and-long situations last week, a trend Hafey said he wants to see end this week.

Eagle Valley

Coach: John Ramunno

Ramunno with Panthers: 28th season

2008 record: 0-5 overall, 0-3 Western Slope League

PPG: 12.6

Opp. PPG: 34.6

Streak: lost five

Career record at Eagle Valley (overall since 2001): 49-26

Ramunno vs. MCHS (since joining 3A WSL in 2004): 2-2

Ramunno's keys to victory:

• Establish the run. Ramunno said the Devils are a running team, period. They need to chew up the clock on the ground this week if they are to have success.

• Play-action passing. If the team runs well, Ramunno said his team's ground attack could open the door for big plays off play-action passing.

• Stop the run defensively. How well his team tackles Moffat County's running-back-by-committee offense, Ramunno said, is pivotal toward keeping the Bulldogs off the board.

Moffat County took a big step in the right direction last week with its 12-10 victory against host Delta on the Panthers' homecoming night.

Friday marks the second time in three weeks the Bulldogs are playing in a homecoming game - Oct. 4 Moffat County hosts Rawlins in the Bulldogs' yearly celebration - and coach Kip Hafey is looking to once again play the spoiler role at Eagle Valley.

"It depends on what side of the ball you are on," Hafey said when asked if the homecoming celebration is an advantage for either team. "If it's your homecoming, the players tend to get distracted with all the stuff going on that week. As the visiting team, it's tough because the home team is always pumped up. I think it kind of evens out."

The Devils have lost their first five games to start the season, a winless streak Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno said he hopes will end Friday.

"We haven't put together any consistency so far this season," he said. "We've had some good quarters, but we still haven't played a complete, consistent game."

With a victory, the Bulldogs will have a firm grasp on the fourth spot in the league; a spot Hafey said doesn't necessarily vault Moffat County into the playoffs.

"There are only three guaranteed spots coming out of our league this year," he said. "There will be wild cards, but we need to win and get into that third spot. We have to win this week if we want to keep that in our sights."

Ramunno isn't worried about wild cards, or postseason possibilities.

To him, it's one week at a time.

"The best week you can have is the week after a win," he said. "We approach every week differently and hope that good things happen."

Game planning:

Both coaches mailed their game film last week, with MCHS getting a glimpse of the Devils' last two games, and Eagle Valley looking over the Bulldogs' last three.

Moffat County on the offensive side of the ball:

The Bulldogs' Wing T offense didn't have any standout players last week against Delta, but when the game was on the line, MCHS' offense scored two touchdowns out of the formation to win the game.

The Devils will line up in a 52 defense this week - five down lineman, with two linebackers and four defensive backs - to counter Moffat County's running game.

"They run a good trap in that power offense they have," Ramunno said. "They are a lot like us in the idea that they run a lot. I've seen three of their games and they are a tough, hard-nosed team. We are going to have to tackle well against them."

Hafey chose the Wing T offense this year for a reason.

"Hey, our offense has been great so far," he said. "That's the great thing about it. Against any defense, it works."

TE Brady Conner is out for the season with a knee injury suffered last week in Delta, and C Jeremiah Gordon is inactive this week.

Chet Harvey will take Conner's position, while Ethan Robinson will play both ways, taking over for Gordon as well as playing his regular position on the defensive line.

Eagle Valley is giving up 34.6 points per game defensively this season, while the MCHS offense is averaging 22.2.

Moffat County on the defensive side of the ball:

Eagle Valley lines up in a Double Wing offense - five lineman flanked by two tight ends and two wingbacks, with a quarterback and fullback under center.

Moffat County's staple 35 defense - three down lineman with five linebackers and three defensive backs - will crowd the line of scrimmage this week attempting to stop the Devils' running game.

"We have got to stay at home on the backside," MCHS defensive coordinator Lance Scranton said. "When the play is flowing to one side, we've got to stay at home on the other side to stop the cutbacks."

Eagle Valley's offense is averaging just 12.6 ppg, but MCHS' defense is giving up 32.8 ppg.

But Scranton said not to be swayed by the inflated number.

Senior DT Ethan Robinson returned to the field last week, leading the Bulldog's defense to its lowest point total of the season - 10 - against host Delta.

"Having Ethan back made a big difference," Scranton said. "We had a whole different tempo and it paid dividends for us."

Junior defensive lineman Brian Ivy injured his ankle in practice Thursday and won't suit up against the Devils. Senior Hunter Zellers is slotted in his place.

Injuries:

Bulldogs - Brady Conner (knee), Brian Ivy (ankle). Devils - Pollo Almanza (knee).

Inactive players:

Bulldogs - Jeremiah Gordon. Devils - none.

Notes: Moffat County is 2-2 against Eagle Valley during Hafey's tenure, including last season's 20-6 home loss. : MCHS blew out Eagle Valley, 54-6, in 2004 - the Devils' first year in the 3A Western Slope League. : Eagle Valley and Moffat County have played one common opponent this year, with both teams falling to Palisade - MCHS, 41-14, and Eagle Valley, 36-14. : The Devils are coming off their bye week after losing 35-14 to Steamboat Springs in week five. : Ramunno, in his 28th season, has the longest active coaching streak in the Western Slope League. : Hafey, as starting quarterback/safety for MCHS, defeated Ramunno and Eagle Valley as a player in high school.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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