Junior Braeden Sullivan jumps over an Evergreen High School defender during the season opening game Aug. 27 at Moffat County High School. The Bulldogs look for their first victory of 2010 against John F. Kennedy High School at 7 p.m. today at home.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Junior Braeden Sullivan jumps over an Evergreen High School defender during the season opening game Aug. 27 at Moffat County High School. The Bulldogs look for their first victory of 2010 against John F. Kennedy High School at 7 p.m. today at home.

Bulldogs look to conquer Commanders

John F. Kennedy playing MCHS football team Friday

Keys to the game

From head coach Kip Hafey:

• Turnovers. Hafey said the defense should look to collect a few extra tries for the offense by taking the ball away from the Commanders.

• Establish the run. The Bulldogs need to establish their running game early against a big defensive line.

• Special teams. Hafey said the Bulldogs have been hurt by bad field position, so better punts and kick returns will go a long way towards helping the Bulldogs notch their first win.

Projected starters

MCHS projected offensive starters for tonight’s game against John F. Kennedy High School:

• QB Bubba Ivers, So.

• WB Miguel Molina, Jr.

• HB Braeden Sullivan, Jr.

• FB Mason Updike, Jr.

• WR Chet Harvey, Sr./Zach Raftopoulos, Sr.

• TE Brady Conner, Sr.

• LT Michael Samuelson, So.

• LG Gage Spears, Sr.

• C Angelo “Hodge” Raftopoulos, Sr.

• RG Tyler Hildebrandt, So.

• RT Cody Adams, Sr.

MCHS projected defensive starters for tonight’s game against John F. Kennedy High School:

• LT Casey Martin, Sr.

• DT Justin Benedict, Sr.

• RT Dario Georgiou, Jr.

• LB Brady Conner, Sr.

• LB CJ Walt, Sr.

• MLB Josh Pritchard, So.

• OLB Angelo “Hodge” Raftopoulos, Sr.

• OLB Chet Harvey, Sr.

• LCB Ryder Seely, So.

• S Wes Chapman, Jr.

• RCB Miguel Molina, Jr.

One word can sum up the John F. Kennedy High School football team.

Big.

When the Moffat County High School varsity football team plays the Commanders at 7 p.m. tonight, it will be playing one of the largest Class 3A football teams in the state.

With more than 1,200 students, Kennedy is almost twice the size of Moffat County.

The players on the field aren’t what MCHS head coach Kip Hafey would call small, either.

“They have some big boys on the line,” he said. “There’s a lot of weight up front.”

Kennedy (1-1 overall, 0-0 in the Metro North League) was a 4A school until this season, when it moved down a class.

The Commanders won their first game Sept. 3 against Abraham Lincoln, 28-14, then lost their second game Sept. 10 at home against Montbello, 27-21.

Moffat County (0-2 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League), is coming off a bye-week.

On Sept. 3, the team fell to Aspen, 46-13. The extra week of practice has helped MCHS regroup, Hafey said.

“The kids have all had a good week of practice,” he said. “I know they’re chomping at the bit to get back out there.”

Kennedy will flash several different looks the Bulldogs’ way, including sets out of the offset-I, option and spread formations.

“They will spread it out,” Hafey said. “They have a tailback (junior Kyle Trinidad) who is a hard runner.”

Trinidad has been the Com-

manders’ workhorse in the early season.

“With all the weight they have on the line, they’re able to get a big push,” Hafey said. “They are also pretty good at throwing the ball to try and open it up.”

On defense, the Commanders again go with several different looks.

“We’ve seen them go with two,” Hafey said. “They have a 50-man front, and they’ll switch to a 40. They do pretty well in both.

“They are a good ball team. They have a good safety.”

To combat the Commander defense, the Bulldogs will try to establish the run early and often, Hafey said.

“We want to keep them guessing,” he said. “We have to sustain our blocks and get on their big guys.

“If we can create some seams, we’ll be alright.”

In two games, the Bulldogs have put up a combined 600 yards of offense, so the offense has been fine, Hafey said.

“We’ve been able to move the ball,” he said. “But, we need to establish our running game.”

Kennedy’s impressive size and strength comes at a price, Hafey said.

“We’ll use our speed,” he said. “That’s the key for us — we’ll need to use our speed to our advantage.”

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