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Bulldog football players hit weight room to prepare for upcoming season

JOHN VANDELINDER

— One day after last season’s 36-0 playoff loss at the hands of Summit High, you would have been hard pressed to find a single Moffat County High School football player dwelling on the defeat.

The next season already had begun.

They hit the weight room that afternoon, and they haven’t stopped lifting since.

Find your way over to the Bulldog workout room, and on any given day, you will find a handful of players sweating it out.

“Sure, we shed some tears,” senior lineman Austin Hill said. “But not because of the loss. It’s because we let down the graduating seniors.”

You see, it’s an issue of pride – pride at being a senior, pride in intelligence and pride in being a starter.

Pride in being a Bulldog.

The emphasis for these Bulldogs isn’t just on creating a stronger body, but also on creating a stronger mindset.

“We lift as we face the senior wall. We look at all the Bulldogs from the past who have made all-state, and we strive to have our names up there too,” Hill said. “We realize that we always have something to prove.”

Lifting weights, working hard and simply being a senior doesn’t automatically add up to a starting spot.

“Coach Hafey stresses academics just as much, if not more, than the physical stuff we do.” senior Dillon Guinn said. “If you have an F, you don’t play. Two D’s, you don’t play. If you skip a class, practice or meeting, you don’t play. We learn a lot more than just how to lift weights when we come in here. We learn to be responsible.”

Guinn and Hill play the offensive line, and are dedicated friends, as well as trench battling partners.

“We work together, we lift weights together, and we run together. It helps us improve because we get to push each other to get better,” Hill said. “We set high expectations for each other and for the team.”

“Everything we do here over the summer is designed to help us become starters,” Guinn said.

Hafey has instituted a voluntary off-season work out program for his players.

Three times a week, completing three phases each day is the standard. Players earn “letterman” points from their workouts, time played as a starter and time at practice. The more points you obtain, the more playing time comes along with it.

As you look around the weight room, you can’t help but notice the desire coming from the 5-foot-8, 155-pound kid in the corner.

Junior Gavin Thompson grunts his way through a set of forearm curls. He may be small in stature, but not in confidence.

“We are here to work hard. The goal is to go further than potential will allow,” Thompson said. “I’m working on getting more letterman points so I can prove I’m ready. This is my third year, and I have got to be ready to follow in the footsteps of the seniors. They have helped us grow, and I feel like they didn’t deserve to end the season the way they did last year.

“We play to win. Our goal for the upcoming season is to just win each week. No pressure to get to state, just Friday night lights, baby.”


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