The Moffat County High School varsity football team will rely on their backfield, including junior halfback Garrett Stewart, right, to help get past Aspen High School at 7 p.m. today at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane. The Bulldogs (0-1) rushed for more than 200 yards last week against Evergreen High School.

File photo

The Moffat County High School varsity football team will rely on their backfield, including junior halfback Garrett Stewart, right, to help get past Aspen High School at 7 p.m. today at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane. The Bulldogs (0-1) rushed for more than 200 yards last week against Evergreen High School.

Bulldogs look to even record tonight against Aspen

If you go…

What: Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Aspen High School

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

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

Quotable

“We have to put pressure on the quarterback. We have put in a couple of defensive formations that hopefully help us cause some turnovers. Last week we didn’t get any turnovers, so we need to work on disrupting plays this week and making Aspen go three-and-out.”

— Kip Hafey, Moffat County High School varsity football head coach, on containing Aspen High School’s offense in tonight’s game

With the first game and the missteps that came with it out of the way, the Moffat County High School varsity football team turned its focus toward the home opener this week.

The Bulldogs (0-1 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League) will host 2A foe Aspen High School at 7 p.m. today at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane.

In the team’s first game of the season Aug. 26 at Evergreen High School, MCHS had to battle muffed handoffs and dropped interceptions all night in an eventual 17-7 defeat.

Head coach Kip Hafey said this week it was all about eliminating those mistakes.

“We tried to keep practice up-tempo and as game-like as possible,” he said. “We wanted it to be fast so we could simulate those situations and make sure we can execute the way we need to.”

The Bulldogs and Skiers (1-0) will play for the second straight year in a non-conference match-up.

Last season, Aspen scored early and often in the first half to win on home turf, 46-13.

Hafey said he expects a similar opponent this year.

“Aspen is really well balanced and very athletic,” he said. “They have good size and height and great team speed. They are a solid all-around team.”

One key player the Bulldogs didn’t encounter last season was freshman quarterback Tucker Beirne.

In the Skiers’ first game against Delta High School last week, Beirne threw for 188 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 35-12 victory.

“We have to put pressure on the quarterback,” Hafey said. “We have put in a couple of defensive formations that will hopefully help us cause some turnovers.

“Last week we didn’t get any turnovers, so we need to work on disrupting plays this week and making Aspen go three and out.”

Against Evergreen, the Bulldogs racked up more than 200 yards on the ground, including the team’s lone touchdown from junior quarterback Bubba Ivers on a quarterback keeper.

The backfield, consisting of Ivers, halfbacks Garrett Stewart and Wes Chapman and fullback Michael Samuelson, will look to play a big role again against Aspen, ranked sixth in The Denver Post’s 2A rankings this week.

“This week we really worked on our technique so we can have good execution (tonight),” Hafey said. “We had trouble finishing drives last week after we would get a good chunk of yardage, so if we can cut back on the mental mistakes, we will put points up.”

Hafey said the Bulldogs’ special teams would be a huge factor after struggling last week, but another component may be the determining factor — home-field advantage.

“I think we will have a great crowd with a big student body and the school band will be there to help get the crowd going,” he said. “If the crowd gets screaming and yelling, I think that accounts for at least seven points and hopefully a few turnovers.

“We prepared hard this week and are ready to go.”

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