Editorial: More than a passing change

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In contrast to past seasons, the MCHS football team came out looking fresh Saturday, armed with new offensive and defensive systems. While head coach Kip Hafey has seemed reluctant to change his game plan in the past, his willingness to do so this season illustrates the kind of leader he is and his value to the Moffat County Community.

Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Patt McCaffrey

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Jerry Martin

— Newspaper representative

When a new sports season starts at any high school across the country, it isn’t uncommon to hear a coach hype all the changes and improvements in store for his or her team during that season.

It’s also pretty common for community members to dismiss that hype. After all, part of a coach’s job is to make his or her team look good, why should the public find any validity in those claims?

So when Moffat County High School had football coach Kip Hafey commented over the summer about the installation of new offensive and defensive systems for his team this offseason, the community — including members of the editorial board — didn’t exactly buy in right away.

They had reason to be skeptical. For as long as Hafey has been around, the game plan on offense for MCHS football was simple: run early and often, pass rarely.

So when news of a spread formation offense began circulating, one that facilitated passing as often or even more often than running, it seemed a little hard to picture.

This past Saturday, Hafey’s team took the field and quickly silenced any doubters.

The Bulldogs played outstanding in their new offense, passing the ball effectively and often en route to a 40-15 victory over Ridge View Academy.

And the final score didn’t really tell the whole story. MCHS played disciplined, smart football in building a 27-0 halftime lead, before coasting in the second half.

Coming on the heels of two straight seasons that started in sluggish, disappointing fashion, the opening of the 2012 season — along with impressive new systems displayed by the Bulldogs — came as a welcome change.

And the changes weren’t only evident on the field. There was a refreshing buzz surrounding last Saturday’s football game that seemed to be present from the time the first tailgater showed up in the parking lot at the Moffat County Proving Grounds.

During the game, the home crowd was outstanding, and those gracious enough to sit with and cheer for Ridge View Academy — a private youth detention center that doesn’t travel with many fans — showed the kind of class and sportsmanship any institution would want to be associated with.

All in all, it was a perfect way to kick off the fall sports season at MCHS.

The editorial board wants to send congratulations to all the Bulldogs, but especially to coach Hafey.

Sometimes criticized for lack of creativity in the past, Hafey made one of the more difficult decisions a leader can make. He chose to try something different, chose to move away from what he knows, chose to depend on the expertise of others in an area that use to be his domain.

And he did it because it was the right thing to do for his kids.

That’s not only the kind of coach we want for our children, it’s the kind of leader they need.

Thank you, coach. We look forward to watching what is sure to be a successful 2012 campaign.

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