Bulldogs ready to tackle tough schedule | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs ready to tackle tough schedule

New offense means more runs; defense preparing to cover all types of plays

John Vandelinder

— Kip Hafey knows this year is going to be difficult.

He has one returning senior starter.

No player over 200 pounds.

And, possibly the toughest schedule in the state.

As head coach of the Moffat County High School football team, Hafey is the first to tell you the team has its work cut out for it.

“We play the top four teams in the state,” Hafey said. “Hands down, you can look, we’ve got the toughest schedule of anybody in 3A football.”

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Yet, Hafey thinks his team will be ready.

“We definitely have our work cut out for us,” Hafey said, laughing. “But let me tell you, we are going to give it everything we’ve got.”

Moffat County will switch from the spread attack seen on offense a year ago, to a wing T formation, which plays more into the team’s strength: running the ball.

“We are not big on our (offensive) line,” Hafey said. “We are going to use a lot of misdirection and fakes this year. Our motto all summer has been ‘two good fakes is better than one good block.’ If we can confuse (the opposition) to the point where they don’t know where the ball is coming from, it’s going to be hard for them to key in on us.”

Junior Matt Linsacum returns at quarterback, and Hafey said the junior has shown tremendous leadership.

Enough so, that he will be given free reign in the huddle to call the plays.

The offense may have a new look this year, but defensive coordinator Lance Scranton’s unit will be the same.

The Bulldog defenders will line up in Scranton’s 35 defense, a formation designed to cover the pass as well as the run.

“We came up with that defense in response to all the spread formations we’re starting to see in our conference,” Scranton said. “It gives us a lot more flexibility. In our conference, we’ll see strictly power and other times we’ll see the spread. This scheme works for both.”

The Bulldogs return five starters on the defensive unit this season, an attribute Scranton said should help the team.

“We’re still young, but we do have some experience,” Scranton said. “Having some kids who are familiar with the system will be a bonus.”

Both coaches agreed this year will be tough on the young Bulldogs, but that won’t stop the team from giving it their all.

“We just want to get better every game,” Hafey said. “We may take our lumps this year at times, but I’ll tell you what, there are feisty kids. They’re going to fight, scratch and claw, and they’re going to do everything they can to help their team.”

If you go

What: MCHS football at Berthoud High School

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Berthoud High School, 850 Spartan Ave. Berthoud

• For more information call 970-824-7036

At a glance

Players to watch

Lyle Schaffner (senior) – Coach Kip Hafey said Schaffner is a powerhouse runner with a tough work ethic.

Matt Linsacum (junior) -Linsacum has shown tremendous leadership qualities that can’t be taught, Hafey said, and he takes control in the offensive huddle.

Halen Raymond (junior) – Hafey said Raymond plays the game downhill and is a positive force – on and off the field.

Teams to watch

Steamboat Springs – The Sailors – ranked No. 3 in the state in 3A – return a plethora of starters, including highly touted quarterback Austin Hinder.

Palisade – Hafey said Palisade tailback Zach Adair could be the fastest in the league. Adair rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Palisade is ranked No. 2 in 3A.

Glenwood Springs – Blue chip quarterback Dakota Stonehouse is back for the defending Western Slope League champions, as is his favorite receiver, Connor Riley. The duo hooked up for 814 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. The Demons are ranked No. 4 in the state.

Dates to circle

Sept. 5 – MCHS vs. Rifle. One week after visiting the defending state champions, Hafey said the match-up with the Bears is critical to starting the season off on the right foot. Rifle beat MCHS, 28-6, in last year’s regular season finale.

Oct. 10 – MCHS vs. Rawlins, Wyo. Hafey said getting a win on homecoming weekend is always an annual goal. MCHS is 4-2 in homecoming games under Hafey. The Bulldogs shut out Rawlins, 20-0, last season in Wyoming.

Oct. 17 – MCHS vs. Steamboat Springs. The Sailors return more than 20 starters, they’re ranked No. 4 in the state, and more importantly, they are the Bulldogs’ archrival. The teams have split the series the past four years, with the Sailors winning, 40-24, last season.

Team Information

League: Western Slope League (WSL) Class 3A

Coach: Kip Hafey

Assistant Coaches: Lance Scranton, Ron Linsacum, Matt Ray, James Neton and Ken Olinger.

Hafey with the Bulldogs: seventh year

Returning starters: five

Players lost: 10