Mason Updike, a Moffat County High School senior, rushes toward the end zone Sept. 2 at MCHS. The MCHS varsity football team looks to pick up its first victory of the season today against John F. Kennedy High School at Denver All-City Stadium.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Mason Updike, a Moffat County High School senior, rushes toward the end zone Sept. 2 at MCHS. The MCHS varsity football team looks to pick up its first victory of the season today against John F. Kennedy High School at Denver All-City Stadium.

Bulldogs seeking first win of season in Denver against Kennedy

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If you go …

What: Moffat County High School varsity football game vs. John F. Kennedy High School

When: 1 p.m. today

Where: Denver All-City Stadium, 1450 S. Franklin St.

— Admission is $5

After an 0-2 start, the Moffat County High School varsity football team’s coaching staff needed the recent bye week to try and get the season back on track, coach Kip Hafey said.

With two weeks of practice under their belt, the Bulldogs battle John F. Kennedy High School at 1 p.m. today at Denver All-City Stadium, 1450 S. Franklin St.

“We got a little banged up in the first two weeks, so the bye week came at a good time for us,” Hafey said. “We’ve lost Dario Georgiou and (Andy) Browning, both big parts of our line, so we took the time to fill in their spots and get other guys working.”

Kennedy, 2-0 and currently ranked 10th in The Denver Post’s 3A prep rankings, scored 119 points combined in the team’s first two games, using a combination offensive attack of passing and running.

The Bulldogs will be without defensive coordinator Lance Scranton in today’s game.

Scranton is serving a Colorado High School Activities Association mandated one-game suspension after being ejected from Sept. 2’s game against Aspen High School.

Ken Olinger will fill in for Scranton on the sidelines.

“We basically prepared pretty normal because we have a good group of coaches,” Scranton said. “As coaches, we sat down and went into more detail on down and distance situations so the right call can be made, but I have faith in Olinger and (James) Neton to do a great job (today).”

Hafey said he routinely expects players and coaches to know both sides of the game.

“We are all on the same page and all stick together so anyone can jump into anyone else’s position if need be,” he said. “We don’t expect anything less from the coaches than we do the players, and I feel confident we will be fine without Coach Scranton.”

Hafey said Kennedy would have size and speed advantages on the Bulldogs, including a 250-pound Division I prospect lineman.

In the Commanders’ first game, running back Kyle Trinidad rushed for more than 200 yards.

In the second game, quarterback Braden Miltenberger threw for four touchdowns.

Hafey said the Bulldogs installed new coverage schemes to help protect against the dual-threat team.

“We broke down game film and we know they have team speed and that they put up over 115 points in just two games,” he said. “But, as a team, we like our chances and our guys are going in there on a mission to upset a top 10 team and get a victory.”

The Bulldogs faced the same backfield combo last season, holding Miltenberger to 166 passing yards and Trinidad to 40 rushing yards in a 27-20 victory at MCHS.

And while the Commanders may have size and speed, Hafey said he feels his players are tougher.

“This game is going to come down to toughness, and I think we win there,” he said. “Our kids are tough and are not going to give up. They are all confident in what we are going to do and they want to perform well.”

In the final week before Western Slope League play starts, Hafey said a victory over Kennedy is crucial.

“We lost to very good Evergreen and Aspen teams where if a few things went our way, we could have won against top 10 teams,” he said. “This game is really important because at the end of the season, anything can happen with playoff points, so every win we can get is huge.”

Joshua Gordon can be reached at 875-1795 or at joshgordon@craigdailypress.com.

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