The Moffat County High School varsity football team hosts No. 9 Battle Mountain High School at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. Head coach Kip Hafey said his defense will need to contain the edges to avoid giving up big plays and getting in an early deficit.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

The Moffat County High School varsity football team hosts No. 9 Battle Mountain High School at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. Head coach Kip Hafey said his defense will need to contain the edges to avoid giving up big plays and getting in an early deficit.

Bulldogs to host Battle Mountain in key Western Slope match-up

If you go …

What: Moffat County High School varsity football game vs. Battle Mountain High School

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

— Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens.

Quotable

“Battle Mountain is like us in that they like to eat up the clock. We have to do a good job of keeping their offense off the field because they do have the fast-strike ability. They have several runs of over 50 yards this year.”

— Kip Hafey, Moffat County High School varsity football head coach, on keys to the Bulldogs game Friday against Battle Mountain

The Moffat County High School varsity football team’s playoff hopes may be slim at this point, but the Bulldogs are still hoping to make some noise in the Western Slope League.

MCHS hosts Battle Mountain High School at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bulldog Proving Grounds, 900 Finley Lane.

The Huskies, 5-1 overall and 2-1 in WSL play, will be the Bulldogs’ fifth ranked opponent this season.

Battle Mountain cracked The Denver Post’s top 10 for the first time this season at No. 9 after last week’s upset victory over then No. 2 Palisade High School.

“The kids have handled playing ranked teams well this season,” head coach Kip Hafey said. “We have one of the most difficult schedules in the state, but our kids are mentally tough and they are not going to back off for anyone.”

The Bulldogs (1-5 overall, 1-2 WSL) have lost two straight after recording their only win of the season against Delta High School on Sept. 23.

Hafey said despite the team’s record, the players and coaches are still ready to compete.

“We are still making good things happen, but we know we are going to need a big upset over Battle Mountain to compete in our league,” he said. “We have moved the ball well and we just need to finish. We have played against top-notch teams, so it is not like we are losing to poor teams.

“If we can get a win this week, it will be a jumbled mess in our league with us possibly tied for second.”

Last year, the Bulldogs traveled to Battle Mountain and left with a 40-34 overtime victory.

The Huskies return their top three offensive weapons — seniors Jake Engle, Reeve Sanders and Zach Guida.

Engle threw for 350 yards against the MCHS defense a year ago while Sanders and Guida have dominated the ground game this season, racking up 741 yards and 565 yards, respectively.

“(Battle Mountain) definitely has two of the fastest kids in the league in (Sanders and Guida),” Hafey said. “They have good size on the line and they put up 49 points on Palisade. We are going to have to be tough on the edges and tackle well to counter their speed.”

Senior Miguel Molina said because the Huskies don’t pass often, the defense would run a cover 2 to allow two cornerbacks to help on stopping the run.

“With only two defensive backs staying back, the two cornerbacks can come up for run support,” he said. “They will crack down on the outside to force the runner inside and hopefully contain big plays.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Molina said more skill-position players need to play with the same intensity as junior Michael Samuelson.

“Michael is a power back who will do anything for the team and we need others to be willing to do the same thing,” he said. “If the running backs can do that, we can open up the pass and that will open up everything, including allowing Michael to pound it up the gut.”

Hafey said the one stat that may decide the game is time of possession.

“Battle Mountain is like us in that they like to eat up the clock,” he said. “We have to do a good job of keeping their offense off the field because they do have the fast-strike ability. They have several runs of over 50 yards this year.”

While the season hasn’t gone as the Bulldogs had hoped, Molina said an upset over the Huskies would go a long way.

“This is not the way we wanted this season to go, especially us seniors in our final year,” he said. “We have to man up and play and if we get an upset, it would be sweet and would feel great.”

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