Coach: Kip Hafey
Hafey with Bulldogs: seventh season
2008 record: 1-3 overall, 1-2 Western Slope League
Opp. PPG: 38.5
Streak: lost one
Career record at Moffat County (overall): 39-31
Hafey vs. Delta: 5-1
Hafey's keys to victory:
• Fundamentals. Hafey said Friday's game would come down to the basics: blocking and tackling. He said the team that blocks and tackles the best will win the game.
• Scoring. The Bulldogs haven't had a problem racking up yards on offense, but Hafey said the team needs to finish off their drives by finding the end zone.
• Third down stops. Coming up big on third down defensively and forcing the Panthers to punt, Hafey said, is key to keeping Delta's offense off the field, and Moffat County's on it.
Coach: Kirk McLaughlin
McLaughlin with Panthers: second season
2008 record: 2-2 overall, 1-2 Western Slope League
Opp. PPG: 27.8
Streak: won one
Career record at Delta (overall): 5-8
McLaughlin vs. MCHS: 1-0
McLaughlin's keys to victory:
• Stop big plays. McLaughlin said he's seen the big plays provided by Moffat County the past two weeks and his team needs to make sure the Bulldogs don't have any Friday.
• Execution. The Panthers need to execute on both sides of the ball, McLaughlin said. If they execute plays like they do in practice, the team's chance of a victory increases.
• Limit mental mistakes. Laughlin said it's simple: staying at home and completing their assignments without any mental lapses, is pivotal toward a successful game.
MCHS projected starters:
QB Matt Linsacum
RB Halen Raymond
RB Pablo Salcido
WB Jasen Kettle
WR Scott Mann
TE Brady Connor
LT Casey Martin
LG Cody Adams
C Jeremiah Gordon
RG Gage Spears
RT Angelo Raftopoulas
DT Brian Ivy
DT Justin Benedict
NG Ethan Robinson
LB Lyle Schaffner
LB Todd Stewart
LB Nathan Tomlin
LB Jordan Wilson
LB Frank Archuleta
CB Alex McCoy
CB Nate Chapman
FS Scott Mann
Delta projected starters:
QB Austin Watson
HB Michael Patton
HB Trent Graff
WB Chad Cromwell
WR Phillip Decker
TE Ethan Kraal
LT Chris Velasquez
LG Brent Richmond
C Duncan Simmons
RG Andrew Astin
RT Justin Robinson
DE Ethan Kraal
DT Dakota Lindsey
DT Andrew Astin
DE Brent Richmond
LB Robert Simpson
LB Trent Graff
LB Gene White
LB Chad Cromwell
CB Phillip Decker
CB Eric West
S Cory Hilborne
The 3A state football playoffs still are six weeks away, but the Moffat County High School Bulldogs can take a big step toward the postseason direction Friday when the team visits Delta.
The Western Slope League is expected to be a three-team race for the top spot between Glenwood Springs (3-0), Steamboat Springs (3-0) and Palisade (3-0), each of which are ranked in the top 10 in the state.
Four teams from the league qualify for the postseason, with Rifle, MCHS and Delta - each with one win - possibly winding up battling for the final position.
Rifle lost to Delta last week, but beat MCHS the week before. So, Friday's match up between the Bulldogs and Panthers gives the winner a leg up on the competition.
"This is by far our biggest game of the season," MCHS coach Kip Hafey said. "We need to win this game if we are going to stay in the hunt for that fourth spot. A big part of that (the playoffs) starts with beating Delta."
Panthers coach Kirk McLaughlin knows the impact of Friday's game and said his team does, as well.
"I told the kids that Moffat County is coming in here to win," he said, "and we have to be ready to do the same."
Both coaches were ahead of the game this week in trading game film. Hafey and McLaughlin did it a bit differently though, sending each other footage through the mail. Each received film of weeks two and three.
Moffat County on the offensive side of the ball:
The Bulldogs' Wing T offense was shut down last week against Palisade, but each game the system shows a few new wrinkles.
Junior Pablo Salcido has exploded for 316 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns the past two weeks, providing MCHS with a big play threat each time he touches the ball.
"We are going to have to find a way to put some big numbers up on the scoreboard," Hafey said. "Every week we are getting better with our fakes and misdirection. We need to continue doing that this week."
The Panthers will counter MCHS with a 4-4 defense - four linebackers, four down lineman and three defensive backs.
"They execute their offense really well," McLaughlin said. "We are going to have to try and disrupt their rhythm. We have to fill the gaps and make plays to stop them."
Moffat County on the defensive side of the ball:
Junior Nathan Tomlin moves from defensive back to linebacker this week in MCHS' 35 defense, and senior Ethan Robinson replaces Josh Wilde on the defensive line. Robinson - who joined the team after the season began - gets his first taste of action this year after sitting the past two weeks to catch up on his conditioning.
"Tomlin has made a lot of tackles the past couple of weeks from that corner spot, so we're moving him closer," Hafey said. "We want to give him a chance to make more plays."
The Panthers will line up in the same offense as Moffat County - the Wing T - and Hafey said the formation sets up perfectly for his defense.
"We had the right setup last week," he said. "So we are going to stick with it."
MCHS will bring two of its linebackers down to the line of scrimmage in what Hafey calls a "double Bulldog," stacking the imaginary box in an attempt to force the Panthers to pass.
"We are going to stack the box and make them beat us with the pass," he said. "They are going to have to throw the ball well against us if they are going to win."
Bulldogs - none. Panthers - none.
Bulldogs - none. Panthers - none.
Moffat County is 5-1 against Delta during Hafey's tenure, with last year's 22-8 loss his first defeat to the Panthers. : The closest game between the two teams was a 14-7 MCHS victory in 2006, before McLaughlin took over as coach. : Delta and Moffat County have played one common opponent this year, with the Panthers defeating Rifle, 34-20, while MCHS lost to the Bears, 42-35, in week two.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org