Homecoming is here at Moffat County High School, and the football team hopes to pick up a win to close out the week on a high note.
MCHS hosts Montezuma-Cortez High School at the Bulldog Proving Grounds at 7 p.m. Friday in a 3A Western Slope League game.
It will be a lengthy trip up to Craig for Cortez, which enters the game with a 2-5 record, 2-4 in the Western Slope League. The Panthers have had an up and down season, losing big to Rifle, Palisade and Delta, but crushing Battle Mountain and picking up a big win against Eagle Valley, 20-19, last week.
Cortez has shown the ability to move the ball in the running or passing game, making them another difficult team to defend.
“They run that read-option and their QB reads it well,” said head coach Kip Hafey. “They ran the ball really well versus Eagle Valley, but in the Steamboat film they threw the ball extremely well. So you have to be ready for both.”
The Panthers are led by a pair of juniors this season, quarterback Jonathan Walck and running back Randy Haley. Out of their read-option offense, the two have combined for more than 1,100 yards rushing this season.
Haley also lines up as a receiver sometimes, Hafey said, and is among Walck’s favorite targets in the passing game.
Senior lineman Sheldon Greenwood noticed Walck keeping the ball himself when he noticed a formation he liked at any point in the game.
“Their quarterback will sneak it on any down,” Greenwood said. “Even on first and 10, he’ll just sneak it up the middle, so we’ve got to be ready for that.”
Moffat County will use a four-man defensive line this week, instead of the three-man lines used previously, to keep the Cortez running game between the tackles, Greenwood said.
“We want to funnel their ball carriers to our linebackers,” he said.
It is the last homecoming game for Greenwood and the other seniors, an occasion he doesn’t want to let pass him by.
“This is probably the most important game of the year,” Greenwood said. “Even when I was little, you were always hearing about the homecoming game. It’s just a big deal here and it’s one we want to win.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.