Moffat County Bulldogs — (2-4 overall, 1-2 in WSL)
Battle Mountain Huskies — (1-5, 0-3 in WSL)
— Kickoff is at 7 p.m. today in Edwards
It’s do-or-done time for the Moffat County High School football team.
With a 1-2 record in the Western Slope League, the Bulldogs must win their final four games for any chance to end a three-year playoff drought.
Head coach Kip Hafey said he and his staff have made sure to tell his team these facts going into tonight’s matchup against 1-5 Battle Mountain.
“We aren’t going to shy away from telling them where they stand,” he said when asked if he thought the extra pressure of a must-win can negatively affect a team. “I expect our kids to want to respond to that kind of adversity.”
Hafey has lost only once to the Huskies in his eight seasons as head coach, and typically the wins have been lopsided.
But, Hafey doesn’t see a typical Battle Mountain team from what he has studied.
“They are a capable team with better speed than us,” he said. “They showed that in their game against Rifle.”
The Huskies took a 19-6 lead into halftime against the Bears. But a couple of miscues, like a botched fake field goal and bad snap on a punt, turned into a heartbreaking 27-19 loss for Battle Mountain.
“They played with Rifle,” Hafey said. “And, they put up 21 points against Glenwood, which we couldn’t do.”
The Huskies coaches were on hand to witness Moffat County’s 35-7 loss to the Glenwood Springs last week.
Hafey said he expects the Huskies to look to force turnovers against his team — after all, the Bulldogs have coughed it up seven times in their two WSL losses.
“We have to hold onto the ball better,” Hafey said. “Turnovers have taken away any chance we had to compete the last two weeks.”
Hafey also noticed that the two teams knocking heads tonight have come out strong all season, but not played well in the second half.
“We have talked a lot about playing four quarters of football this week,” he said. “I know that sounds obvious, but the kids have to come out tough and fight through adversity in the second half, which we didn’t do the last two weeks.”
Last week, the Huskies coaching staff scouted a Bulldog team without two of its best offensive weapons. Senior tight end Brady Conner and junior fullback Mason Updike were both out of action last week. They return this week.
“We are healthy, except for Casey Martin, who is out for the season.” Hafey said.
The Bulldogs, will most likely miss defensive stalwart Martin, but also welcome back junior lineman Garrett Spears, who sat out the first six games because of a knee injury suffered at football camp during the summer.
Spears will help with the size advantage that Hafey said his team should have tonight.
“We don’t have to get big chunks of yards, but we need to possess the ball, and our size can help with that,” he said. “We’ve also worked a lot on tackling well, because last week we didn’t do that all the time.”
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Edwards.