Bulldogs’ schedule ranked No. 1 in preseason strength ratings | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs’ schedule ranked No. 1 in preseason strength ratings

Ben Bulkeley

Sophomore Ryder Seely, shown here carrying the ball, tries to outrun a pair of scout team defenders Friday during Moffat County High School varsity football practice. The Bulldogs had a bye week this week, but will resume its grueling 10-game schedule Sept. 17 when John F. Kennedy High School comes to Moffat County.

What started with a zero-week game has evolved into a number one ranking.

The Moffat County High School football team (0-2 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League), according to Massey Rankings, started the 2010 season with the hardest schedule in the state.

Richard Wildenhaus, MCHS athletic director, was one of the architects behind the 2010 schedule.

Wildenhaus said the ranking shouldn't be a surprise.

"I assume it's done on the strength of the schedule," Wildenhaus said. "With our league and three good non-conference games, we certainly should rank near the top."

With a zero-week game against No. 27-ranked Evergreen High School, and games against Aspen (No. 3 in 2A), Glenwood Springs (No. 5 in 3A), Palisade (No. 7), Delta (No. 8), Steamboat Springs (No. 9) and Rifle (No. 17), as well a game against 4A's John F. Kennedy High School, the Bulldogs' schedule only contains one break — this week's bye-week.

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The zero-week game afforded the Bulldogs a bye-week, but it wasn't a week off, head coach Kip Hafey said.

"The kids have all come back strong," he said. "Without a game this week, they could have taken it easy.

"They don't want to let each other down, and nobody did. Everyone here is working hard on getting better."

Wildenhaus said that when the schedule is crafted, the league games are the first to fill up the calendar.

After the other six Western Slope League teams are shuffled into place, the non-conference games are fit into the schedule.

"We branch out and try to find other teams that are competitive," Wildenhaus said. "We'll play up (in Class 4A) or down (in 2A), and we always try to find teams we wouldn't normally see."

Calls are made to other coaches and athletic directors to schedule non-conference games.

"We get calls from other schools about getting onto their schedules," Wildenhaus said. "If it works and it's an open week, we'll go through with the process."

With Montezuma-Cortez being dropped from the 3A WSL, the team had to find three non-conference games this year, instead of last year's two.

Those spots were filled up with a resurgent Evergreen team, a strong Aspen team, and a tough 4A school in John F. Kennedy.

"It's loaded," Hafey said. "Next week, we'll have JFK, which has 1,200 students, so almost double (the number of students) at MCHS."

But, regardless of who is on the other sidelines, the Bulldogs will be ready, Hafey said.

"I think it's great," he said. "We've definitely been tested. We don't want to stay the same — if you're not getting better, you're getting worse."

If the Bulldogs can make a run to the playoffs, the strength of its schedule could help propel the team if it finds itself in another situation like last season, when percentage points separated MCHS from the playoffs.

The strength of schedule is factored in when the playoff bids are handed out.

After next week's game against John F. Kennedy is in the books, the real fun starts, Hafey said.

"There's one more non-conference game," he said. "Then, we jump into our conference."

Football schedule

Date Place Opponent Result

Aug. 27 Home Evergreen 26-22L

Sept. 3 Away Aspen 46-13L

Sept. 17 Home Kennedy

Sept. 24 Away Delta

Oct. 1 Home Palisade

Oct. 8 Away Glenwood Springs

Oct. 15 Away Battle Mountain

Oct. 22 Home Rifle

Oct. 29 Away Eagle Valley

Nov. 5 Home Steamboat Springs

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