Michael Samuelson, a Moffat County High School junior, carries a defender Sept. 23 against Delta High School at MCHS. The MCHS varsity football team plays Glenwood Springs High School today in the Bulldogs’ Homecoming game.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Michael Samuelson, a Moffat County High School junior, carries a defender Sept. 23 against Delta High School at MCHS. The MCHS varsity football team plays Glenwood Springs High School today in the Bulldogs’ Homecoming game.

Bulldogs, Demons battle in MCHS homecoming game

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While homecoming brings in bigger crowds and more festivities, for Moffat County High School varsity football coaches, it brings another challenge in preparation.

“It is tough to keep the kids focused,” head coach Kip Hafey said. “There are always so many distractions going on, we have to make sure the kids are focused on Friday night and not what to wear the next day.”

The Bulldogs are playing Glenwood Springs High School in the their 2011 homecoming game.

The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m.

Hafey said home games always add another level of excitement, but he and the coaches need to make sure the excitement translates to success.

“We have to make sure they are not just excited, but enthusiastic throughout the game,” he said. “If it is just excitement, it will wear off after the first couple of plays. If they are enthusiastic, they can have that level of intensity throughout the game and not have a let down.”

The Bulldogs (1-4 overall, 1-1 Western Slope League) had trouble containing Glenwood last year in a 35-7 defeat in Glenwood.

Despite the Demons’ record, 1-4 overall and 0-2 in WSL, Hafey said Glenwood is just as good as last year.

Glenwood started the season ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, according to the Denver Post.

But, after a 33-7 victory to open the season, they lost three straight.

“We lost to three ranked teams to start the season and Glenwood had a very similar schedule to us,” Hafey said. “They played two ranked teams, so they didn’t lose to slouches. They will still be a very good team and we can’t just look at their record.”

The Demons allowed over 300 rushing yards in week 2 against Montrose.

Hafey said the run game is the Bulldogs’ strength.

“Against any team, we want to be able to run the ball successfully,” he said. “But, if they starting working against the run, we hope it sets up the pass and then we can do both.”

The Bulldogs have four or five players who they rely on to run the ball.

Hafey said rotating that many backs helps keep each player fresh.

One of those backs, MCHS senior Mason Updike, said the Bulldogs’ success at running is going to pay off in more ways than one as the season continues.

“We really want to be able to run a diverse offense,” Updike said. “If we keep running the ball well, we can score, but we will also open up the pass. If we can do that, then opponents will expect one thing, but we can turn it and run something they aren’t ready for.”

Updike said he has never beaten Glenwood in three tries, but seeing as it is his last homecoming, he is ready to put one in the win column.

“It is my senior homecoming, so it is awesome, but then it kind of sinks in it is my last homecoming,” he said. “When we play at home, we play 100 times better with all our fans there. It would be pretty sick to say that our senior class took out Glenwood on our last try.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs have struggled with pass defense, but there have been signs of improvement in past weeks.

Updike said the pass defense could be the key to the game.

“Glenwood likes to pass and our corners have been lackluster so far against the pass,” he said. “They are starting to improve and if they can contain the receivers like they did against Delta, we have a chance to beat them.”

The Bulldogs’ four losses already match their loss total for each of the last two seasons.

With each game a must win as the team looks for a spot in the playoffs, Hafey said nothing has changed about the game plan.

“We are going to keep doing what works and make sure we are ready to go,” he said. “This is the seniors’ last homecoming and we want to come out with a win.”

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