Moffat County football kicks off its season on the road Saturday, starting the 2013 campaign in Watkins vs. Ridge View Academy.
Last year, the Bulldogs and Rams squared off for the first time, also the first game of the season, and Moffat County came away with a 40-15 victory in which it took a 27-0 lead into halftime. Head coach Kip Hafey does not expect this year’s matchup to be as simple for a variety of reasons.
“We know they’re very big and, man, they have some speed,” he said about Ridge View. “That’s why it’s going to be so important for us to focus on the fundamentals as we have been and keep them contained.”
The Bulldogs will also be missing starting quarterback and safety Matt Hamilton, whose shoulder injury in a scrimmage against Coal Ridge is expected to keep him out for the first couple games. Junior Joe Camilletti will be the signal-caller to start the season and while the Bulldogs don’t have much depth, they are comfortable with Camilletti behind center.
“Joe stepped in at the scrimmage and did a phenomenal job,” Hafey said. “He knows one speed and that’s full speed. He’s a smart young man and will do well for us.”
Camilletti feels prepared for the job as well.
“Yeah, I’m ready. There’s always stuff you can do to prepare,” he said about his practice time. “Confidence is a big part of it, too. You’ve got to feel confident to do well.”
Another challenge with the first game of the season is teams don’t enter the game with film to work on, making their opponent more of an unknown. Last season, Ridge View spent most of its time running the ball on offense and that is what Hafey expects more of this time, as well.
Moffat County also likes to run the ball to set up its passing game, but Camilletti is looking forward to opportunities to air it out.
“They played man (defense) last year,” he said. “That’s good for receivers, because our guys can beat a cornerback one on one. It’s tough for cornerbacks to do that. A lot of teams will play zone, but (Ridge View) is man.”
Turnovers plagued Moffat County in a few close games last season, so the Bulldogs hope their fundamental and disciplined approach will be a difference-maker in their first game of the season and beyond. But with a young group heading on the road for its first real competition of the season, mistakes are to be expected.
Hafey thinks overcoming them will be a key to the game.
“There will be mistakes and mentally we can’t let that bug us,” he said. “It will be about us being mentally strong, and how we respond to those mistakes.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com