If you go
What: MCHS football at Glenwood Springs
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Glenwood Springs High School, 1521 Grand Ave.
• For more information, call 970-384-5555
GSHS Rocky Whitworth's keys to victory
• Limit MCHS' time of possession. Whitworth said he knows Moffat County utilizes a ball-control offense, and if his team doesn't limit the Bulldogs' T.O.P., the game's outcome could be in question.
• Special teams. The Demons have had their share of troubles the past few weeks, and Whitworth said his special teams unit needs to be just that: special.
• Defense. Tackling well is a priority to Whitworth - so much so that it has been the main focus in practice this week.
MCHS Kip Hafey's keys to victory
• Pass defense. Glenwood is a pass-first team. Hafey said the Bulldogs' linebackers and defensive backs need to have great coverage on the Demons' receivers.
• Offense. Keeping the ball out of the hands of Glenwood's high-powered offense is huge this week, Hafey said. If the Bulldogs can eat up the clock, and sustain drives, the Demons will have less of an opportunity to score.
• Third downs. Converting offensively in third down situations and keeping drives from stalling, Hafey said, is the best way to slow down the Demons.
Craig Facing the top competition in the state is becoming familiar to the Moffat County High School football team.
Friday's game at host Glenwood Springs marks the third time in eight weeks the Bulldogs will play a No. 1-ranked team.
The Bulldogs opened the season at then-No.1 Berthoud - who held the top spot in 3A for five weeks; hosted Palisade Sept. 19 - who was No. 1 the past two weeks; and now visit the Demons - who took the top spot away from Palisade in a come-from-behind victory Saturday afternoon.
"The third time is a charm," MCHS coach Kip Hafey said. "Isn't that what they say?"
It is, coach.
To Hafey, rankings mean nothing when the team's hit the field.
"We are going to go down there fully expecting to win," Hafey said. "We're going down there to win a game. We are going to play hard, and we're going to try to take one away from them."
Moffat County is sandwiched between Palisade and current fourth-ranked Steamboat Springs on the Demons' schedule - a reason for optimism in Hafey's eyes.
"I mean, if there is any advantage we have : it would have to be that they played Palisade before us and they have Steamboat after," he said.
Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth is well aware of the upset-minded Bulldogs.
Although his team is now at the head of the pack, he refuses to let complacency set in.
"We're trying to avoid talking about it as much as possible," Whitworth said about the No. 1 ranking. "One of our goals is just to remain in the present. Every week is a big game, and we just want to stay focused on that game.
"We have to be as physical as we are in our best games."
As for overlooking the Bulldogs?
"The whole thing in high school football is the conference championship and seeding is still out there," Whitworth said. "You want to try and play for a chance to win the conference championship, and we still have to do that."
The postseason is out of reach for the Bulldogs, but the schedule must be played out.
With two games remaining - the Bulldogs host Cortez next week - Hafey's goal is simple: Get better.
"For us, it's about getting better," he said. "We want to keep getting better, and we're are going to stick to our core values. We're going to stick to hard work, trust, commitment and being a team player. We're going to go after it and go for the win.
"Not anything to do with being a spoiler, it just has to do with being able to walk off that field knowing we gave it our all."
Bulldogs - Brady Conner (season - knee). Demons - none.
Bulldogs - none. Demons - none.
MCHS' 55-12 home loss to the Demons last season was Hafey's lone defeat to Glenwood during his tenure. : Jasen Kettle suffered an injury in last week's loss to visiting Steamboat Springs, but Hafey said the junior has been given the green light to play Friday. : The Demons are averaging nearly 42 points a game this year, the Bulldogs, 20.6. : The teams exchanged film of their past three games through the mail last week.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org