Bulldog football team named 3A academic champion | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldog football team named 3A academic champion

John Vandelinder

— When the high school football season began in August, Moffat County coach Kip Hafey said he had some simple instructions for each member of the team.

To sit at the front of his class.

Be respectable.

And work hard at everything they do.

He insisted on good grades. To him, the best kind of player is the smart football player.

The players apparently listened.

For the second year in a row, the Colorado High School Activities Association has noticed, awarding the 3A academic state championship to the MCHS football team.

“It’s very cool to win back-to-back,” Hafey said. “It shows that we aren’t just about football and nothing else. It’s a great accomplishment for these kids and this school.”

Grades have not been the sole place the Bulldogs have done well in Hafey’s six years at coach.

Five of his six teams have opened the season ranked in the top 10 in the state, four made it to state, two reached the state semifinals, and the team has won more than 70 percent of its league games.

And there also is the off-field accomplishments, which helps lead to on-field play.

“It’s nice to have talent and skill,” Hafey said. “But, when you have to change positions in the middle of game week, you better be intelligent. We always play smart kids for a reason.”

The annual award goes to the high school whose senior class finishes the fall semester with the highest grade point average by classification.

“It shows that these kids are an exception to the norm,” Hafey said. “We are the absolute best in the state. The past two years, we haven’t had one player miss time for being academically ineligible. That is important to us here at Moffat County.”

The Bulldogs endured a losing season on the field this year – the first during Hafey’s stint – and the coach said winning a state title off the field helps ease the sting a bit.

“We want to win games for sure,” he said. “But, sometimes it doesn’t happen. To win off the field is just as important.”

Hafey credits the Moffat County High School faculty, saying if not for the dedication put forth by his fellow teachers, the football team would not have achieved the lofty status.

“The teachers have basically said, ‘football player or not, these kids are going to get their work done,'” he said. “We have a great staff that really cares about these kids. This isn’t just a football award, it’s a Moffat County High School award.”

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