If you go …
What: Moffat County High School varsity football game vs. Rifle High School
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Rifle High School, 1350 Prefontaine Ave.
— Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens.
“We executed well last week with over 300 yards of offense, we just weren’t able to get the points in the red zone. We never had to punt and the kids did a lot of good things with the ball. But, we need to be able to finish when we are in the red zone.”
— Kip Hafey, the Moffat County High School varsity football head coach, on the Bulldogs failing to put up points last week in three red zone trips
Another week and another ranked opponent for the Moffat County High School varsity football team.
When the Bulldogs line up at 7 p.m. Friday at Rifle High School, the No. 5 Bears will be the sixth ranked team MCHS has played this season.
The Bulldogs, 1-6 overall and 1-3 in Western Slope League play, have lost to six teams who have an accumulated a record of 35-8 thus far, with four of those losses attributed to Glenwood Springs High School.
“The record so far of the teams we have lost to should tell everyone the kind of teams we are playing and how tough our schedule is,” head coach Kip Hafey said. “But, we feel good and the kids are pumped heading into the Rifle game because they know they can get an upset.”
Rifle, 7-0 overall and 4-0 WSL, will come at the Bulldogs with a similar attack to Battle Mountain, which MCHS lost to last week, 28-13.
Like most WSL teams, the Bears’ main offensive focus is the running game.
Rifle junior Ryan Moeller has 1,487 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Moeller’s backfield teammate, senior Brandon Kittle, has rushed for 814 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“They definitely love to run the sweep, but they will run an inside trap as well,” Hafey said of Rifle’s offense. “In the three games we scouted, they threw the ball about nine times total, so they will run the ball at us on the edge and up the gut just like Battle Mountain.”
Last week, Battle Mountain came into Moffat County averaging more than 40 points per game and had only been held under 30 once.
Hafey said his team’s defensive ability to tackle was the difference maker in holding the Huskies to 28 points.
“We played tough against Battle Mountain and we were in it until the end against a ranked team,” he said. “Our kids tackled very well and we are going to have to do that again if we want a chance to pull off an upset against Rifle.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs were able to out-gain Battle Mountain last week — 336 yards to 324 yards.
However, MCHS had three drives stall in the red zone.
“We executed well last week with over 300 yards of offense, we just weren’t able to get the points in the red zone,” Hafey said. “We never had to punt and the kids did a lot of good things with the ball. But, we need to be able to finish when we are in the red zone.”
Hafey said the coaches have talked to players about failing to put up points the last few weeks and how it requires the offense to “take it up a notch” when they are close.
“Our opponent’s defense is backed up against the wall when they are in the red zone, so we really have to stay with our blocks and execute our fakes well to be successful,” he said. “Execution and focus is the challenge when you are that close and we have to be able to finish.”
Because both teams run the ball successfully, Hafey said the deciding factor could be clock management.
“We both run the ball and we both run it well,” he said. “If you can run the ball, you can control the clock and that would be huge if we could keep their offense off the field.”
With the playoffs out of reach, the Bulldogs now hope to make some noise in the conference.
Upsetting the top team would be a start, Hafey said.
“We have talked to the guys about flipping the switch and giving everything they’ve got every week,” he said. “No matter the odds, our No. 1 goal is to go out and get the win.
“This would be a great upset and we would definitely love to do it.”
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