Moffat County High School senior Michael Samuelson carries the ball during the team’s scrimmage against Coal Ridge High School earlier this month at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. Samuelson will be featured regularly in the team’s offense this year.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Moffat County High School senior Michael Samuelson carries the ball during the team’s scrimmage against Coal Ridge High School earlier this month at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. Samuelson will be featured regularly in the team’s offense this year.

Spreading the wealth

New offensive, defensive schemes give Bulldogs new look in 2012

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Bubba Ivers, a Moffat County High School senior, looks to pass during the football team’s scrimmage against Coal Ridge High School Aug. 24 at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. Ivers, in his third year as starting quarterback, has learned a new offense for his senior season.

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Matt Hamilton, a Moffat County High School sophomore, throws a pass on the run at a practice this summer. Hamilton, the team’s backup quarterback, will likely see snaps as part of the new offense, and will get some time at safety.

Team at a Glance:

Moffat County High School football team

Head Coach: Kip Hafey

2012 key returners: QB Bubba Ivers, RB Michael Samuelson, WR/CB Jacob Teeter, DL Tyler Hildebrandt, LB Josh Pritchard

2011 Record: 3-7

Quotable

“I’m really excited (to pass more). I have no problem with the running game. You can control the clock and the flow of the game. But there’s nothing better than airing it out.”

—Bubba Ivers, MCHS senior, about playing in the Bulldogs’ new offense

Coming off a disappointing season in 2011, it was time for the Moffat County High School football team to make a change.

Head Coach Kip Hafey knew it wouldn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs as one of the smallest schools in the 3A classification for football.

So Hafey and assistant Lance Scranton decided to overhaul the team’s offensive and defensive approaches to the game, and go with a more modern, mobile style.

The result is a spread offense instead of power formations, and going with a more aggressive style on defense.

The stark difference between the two offenses can be seen as the Bulldogs walk to the line of scrimmage before each play. The line is smaller, more wide receivers are set wide, and the quarterback is taking snaps from the shotgun as opposed to under center.

The new offense is meant to help the Bulldogs better utilize the athleticism of their players, Scranton said during camp when the team was first learning its new sets.

“We are trying to create better match-ups,” Scranton said. “We want to spread the defense and create space for our guys to make plays.”

At team camps in June, the offense was in its most raw phases, with players having to learn what call signs meant and taking direction before most snaps to get set.

While players were excited to try out a new offense, in the early stages it was much more tiresome and difficult work.

Now that they’ve seen what it can do, they are all-in.

“When we first came to camp we thought it was cool to be doing new stuff on offense, but we didn’t really know what it was all about,” senior quarterback Bubba Ivers said. “Now that we’ve been working on it all summer and see its potential, it’s great. It’s going to open up a lot more options for us.

“Now instead of a defense keying on the running back and quarterback, they have to pay attention to a running back, quarterback, wide receivers, tight ends.”

The offense will still run the ball with Ivers and senior Michael Samuelson a great deal. But it will feature more passes with several options.

That has Ivers ready to start playing.

“I’m really excited (to pass more),” he said. “I have no problem with the running game. You can control the clock and the flow of the game. But there’s nothing better than airing it out.”

The offense and defense both looked sharp in the Bulldogs’ scrimmage against Coal Ridge High School Aug. 24. Now MCHS must translate those performances into the games that count.

If they continue the work from this summer, the Bulldogs will be well on their way.

“The kids did a great job this summer,” Hafey said. “We got a lot of offense installed. They can’t wait to get on the field. The kids are excited, the coaches are excited.

We’re ready to go.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press Sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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