At a glance
Moffat County High School at a glance
Coach: Kip Hafey
2009 record: 5-4 (3-4 in Western Slope League)
Keys to tonight’s game
• Tackle well
• Discipline on defense
• Run the ball and fight for yards
Montezuma-Cortez High School at a glance
Coach: Chuck Cotter
2009 record: 1-8 (1-6 in Western Slope League)
With the season ticking down to the final minute, the Moffat County High School boys varsity football team will need a few breaks to reach the playoffs.
But, before the team can think of advancing, coach Kip Hafey said the Bulldogs need to take care of business starting at 7 p.m. today against Montezuma-Cortez High School.
“We have to win,” he said. “There are three or four teams still around, and if certain things happen we could still be in.”
Last week, Moffat County fell, 31-0, to the visiting Glenwood Springs High School Demons, which dealt the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes a blow.
The Bulldogs’ chance of reaching the next level of play is at 10 percent, Hafey said, but beating the Panthers tonight in Cortez would keep them alive.
Montezuma-Cortez owns a 1-8 record, including a 1-6 mark in Western Slope League play.
This also will be the last regular season game for Moffat County seniors Jeremiah Gordon, Travis Noland, Justin Zufelt, Jordan Wilson, Halen Raymond, Brian Ivy, Todd Stewart, Aaron Nielson, Nathan Tomlin, Jasen Kettle, Matt Linsacum, Scott Mann and Pablo Salcido.
When Montezuma-Cortez has the ball
Against the Bulldogs, the Panthers will go for a spin.
Running out of the spinner series, the Panthers will try to deceive the Bulldogs defense.
The spinner series is a single-wing set in the shotgun formation, in which the quarterback will sometimes spin 360 degrees to fake handoffs.
Not biting will be the Bulldogs’ best defense, coach Lance Scranton said.
“They run a lot of motion, which has the potential for a sweep, trap or QB keep,” he said.
“We need to be disciplined, especially our outside linebackers. They need to stay at home, and not over-penetrate.”
From the spinner series, Montezuma-Cortez quarterback Breen McComb can fake a hand-off, pass the ball or keep it and run.
Nine games into the season, the Panthers are averaging 18 points a game and the Bulldogs are scoring 18.5.
If Moffat County can get a push up-front, then the Panthers’ offense could stumble.
“Our three interior linemen need to be physical,” Scranton said. “If they can do that, it will blow everything up.”
The team also needs to make solid tackles, Scranton said.
When Moffat County has the ball
Hafey said the Bulldogs need to run at the Panthers.
“We need to be really physical,” he said. “Teams that have been physical have had a lot more success against Cortez than the teams that rely on finesse.
“We need to go out and be aggressive.”
To battle the Bulldogs, Montezuma-Cortez will try to slow down a potent running game.
“They will probably have nine or 10 guys in the box,” he said. “They will put five guys on the line. They’re going to stick a lot of guys in the box and try to force us to throw.”
When the middle is clogged, the Bulldogs will attack the outside with players like Kettle.
“When a team puts that many guys in the box, you need to get something on the edge,” Hafey said. “When they try to stop you in the middle, we will run everything from the tackles-out.
“That’s what we have to do to be successful and that’s where we have a chance to out-man them at the point of attack.”
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.