Bulldogs head into playoffs
The do-or-die season continues for the Moffat County High School varsity football team.
If the Bulldogs beat the Eaton Reds Saturday they will do something they haven’t done in years and if they lose the playoff game the Bulldogs season will be dead.
For the last four games, the Bulldogs were in must-win games to make the playoffs. MCHS answered the challenge with four victories to finish the season 6-4 overall and 5-2 in league play. The wins set up a first round playoff game with the Reds who ended up 8-2 on the year.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Eaton High School in Eaton, Colo.
“We have had a good week of practice and the kids have been locked in,” said Bulldogs coach John Haddan. “They are ready to play.”
According to Haddan, the Reds are strong up front.
“We have evaluated Eaton on film and they are a big team,” said Haddan. “They have a lot of kids over 200 pounds. We are excited to go down and play them.”
A year ago in the first round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs were eliminated by Evergreen, 45-0, but this year Haddan believes MCHS will hold its own.
“We went in last year as the No. 4 seed playing a No. 1 seed,” said Haddan. “This year is a more even match up with us a No. 3 against a No. 2. We are feeling pretty good and it should be a good game.”
Other first round games involving Western Slope teams are Weld Central (7-3) at Delta and Windsor (6-4) at Rifle (9-1).
“The team that has been picked all year to win state is Ft. Morgan and they are on the other side of the bracket,” said Haddan. “The No. 1 seeds on our side are Florence and Evergreen. Both those teams are tough. We just need to concentrate on Eaton and prepare to beat them before we worry about the other teams.”
For the Bulldogs to win Saturday, MCHS will have to pick up its performance.
“We need to eliminate turnovers and penalties,” said Haddan. “We need to play a physical defense in order to be successful. Living in Craig most of these kids have traveled. We are excited that we are in the playoffs and we are excited to play them.”
“In order to win on Saturday we need to stay a lot more focused than we have been,” said senior center and middle linebacker Kevin Field. “If we all play together and play the way we can we will come back home with a playoff win.”
The Reds enter the game with two losses, one against Brush and the other against Ft. Morgan.
“We have had a real good season and we are in a real good league,” said Reds coach Bill Mondt. “This is the third year in a row that we have been second in the league and we are really proud of that.”
A week ago, the Reds ran past Weld Central, 54-7.
“Weld Central fumbled eight times or the game would have been much closer,” said Mondt. “We recovered five of those and we scored 28 points in the second quarter. It was a great win for us, but I would have been just as happy if it would have been 21-7.”
The Reds have a solid core of upperclassmen.
“We are not a very big school and we only have about 420 students,” said Mondt. “We have 12 seniors and 14 juniors. We have good seniors, but we play a lot of young guys. This year we have run more than we have passed. We are an option team and we have a couple of big kids. On our defensive front one guy is 230 pounds and the other is 220 pounds. They are all around 200 pounds.”
Mondt believes the game will be appealing for fans.
“I think that it will be a good football game,” said Mondt. “The Bulldogs have a good football team and they have good running backs and receivers. Gaylord is an excellent runner and passer. The quarterbacks will be two of the best runners on the field. It will be an interesting game.”
After two days of competition at the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association State Finals, riders and ropers from Moffat and Routt counties are making their way into the home stretch.