Kearn Gerber (right) and Matt Hamilton (left) look for the ball in a defensive back drill Thursday at Moffat County High School. The Bulldogs football team will finish its first week of two-a-day practices Friday.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Kearn Gerber (right) and Matt Hamilton (left) look for the ball in a defensive back drill Thursday at Moffat County High School. The Bulldogs football team will finish its first week of two-a-day practices Friday.

Moffat County football back to hitting

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Linemen get off the ball in a defensive line drill at Moffat County High School football practice Thursday morning.

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Moffat County football players work on their defensive sets in a seven-on-seven drill Thursday at Moffat County High School.

— It’s not yet been a week of practice, but the Moffat County High School football team has put a heavy workload into its upcoming season.

The Bulldogs kicked off 2013 Monday with two-a-day practices and a weightlifting session in between, but it wasn’t until Thursday that the team really looked like it was ready for some football.

That’s because under Colorado High School Activities Association rules, football teams have to put in three days of practice before they can transition to contact between players. The rules require two days of practice in helmets, then a day of practice in full pads without contact before allowing the hitting to begin.

The first few days are not wasted, however. Head coach Kip Hafey said the team can still work on vital aspects of the game without pads.

“We really do a lot of the same stuff; it’s just we can’t be hitting each other,” Hafey said of the first few practices. “You can still use dummies and work on technique and fundamentals, and we'll still spend time going through our offense and defensive schemes.”

The Bulldogs have spent one session each day working on offense and the other focusing on defense — each time splitting players up to give them work at their positions, then coming together in team-oriented drills.

“We’ve been doing a lot of individual skills on offense and defense,” said incoming junior Matt Hamilton, who has been working at quarterback and defensive back this offseason. “So for corners, it’s how to cover correctly. Stuff like that.”

Thursday brought a new level of intensity to nearly every drill, as lineman could work on blocking or beating blocks against one another, instead of going against padded dummies. Similarly, prospective defensive backs and linebackers could get physical with teammates and start to get a feel for what will be happening in games this season.

“(Getting to hit) brings a new energy to the team for sure,” Hamilton said. “We get excited about it for sure.”

The head coach likes seeing the contact become part of the equation as well.

“It’s always good to see the kids go after it and pop pads,” Hafey said.

Moffat County is working on a spread offense once again this football season and a defensive package similar to last year as well. While returning players will be familiar with those schemes after learning them last year, both are still in the early stages of preparation.

But the painstaking work at the beginning of the season is still fun for players because it means they are a step closer to the games on Friday nights.

“It feels good to be back out,” Hamilton said. “Everybody is coming into this with good attitudes. We’re having fun, and I think it’s going to be a good season.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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