Bulldogs look to clinch playoff spot | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs look to clinch playoff spot

Bruce Tippets

For the last six weeks, the Moffat County High School varsity football team has battled conference opponents with one goal in mind making it to the postseason.

After a gut-check 22-21 victory over the Gunnison Cowboys Saturday, the Bulldogs stand at 5-4 overall and 4-2 in league play and will face the Battle Mountain Huskies, 0-9 on the season and 0-6 in conference, at 7:30 p.m. Friday to close out the regular season.

“All we have to do is beat Battle Mountain and we are right in the thick of the playoffs,” said Bulldogs coach John Haddan. “We are a lot happier that we are not playing Gunnison, Delta or Rifle Friday night. We have the Huskies coming into our place Friday night and we are just happy that we are playing at home.”

The Bulldogs find themselves in a four-way tie for second place with Steamboat Springs, Delta and Gunnison.

“With Steamboat Springs beating Delta, that made the playoff picture pretty interesting,” said Haddan. “Basically, teams just have to win to go. Some teams are depending on others to get there. Everybody has a chance.”

Huskies coach Scott Wiedeman believes the Western Slope conference is shaping up the way he thought it would.

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“Moffat County was a little banged up earlier in the season and that hurt them a little bit,” said Wiedeman. “They are not out of it. I think that Delta and Rifle are right where they should have been. Steamboat Springs has surprised a few people. It’s interesting right now.”

Haddan said the Huskies are primarily a running team.

“We feel that we match up with Battle Mountain fairly well,” said Haddan. “The Huskies have some quick kids on offense. They run the triple option. Their quarterback is really quick and he is a real dangerous kid.

“They do some different things on defense and we are excited to play them.”

Saturday against the Cowboys, the Bulldogs racked up 291 total yards.

Running back Frank Counts, a senior, finished with 95 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremiah Noland, a senior, had 55 yards.

“We just need to play hard and have our offense play just as hard as our defense,” said Noland. “They have been running me a little bit more. We will be running a lot this week and it should be fun.”

“In the second half against Gunnison we went to the (two tight ends and three running backs) set and that is not a big yardage producer,” said Haddan. “It’s a big touchdown producer for us. The yardage might be a little misleading because the double tight offense is a ball control offense. We used it to our advantage.”

Bulldogs players know they can’t take the Huskies lightly.

“We can’t look past Battle Mountain,” said senior defensive and offensive lineman Matt Johnston. “We just need to play our game and not look past them. It’s the last time that we will play under the lights and it will be a weird feeling, but I know that we can come out on top.”

Wiedeman will bring a young team to town Friday.

“We have a young football team and we will start seven sophomores,” said Wiedeman. “We are going through some growing pains and the kids are playing hard. Moffat County has some horses up front. They have good skilled position players and it’s going to be tough to match up with them.

“We will do some different things and hopefully we will catch them off guard. They are a very good football team.”