Defense key for Moffat County football in Friday game against Basalt | CraigDailyPress.com

Defense key for Moffat County football in Friday game against Basalt

Moffat County High School's Elias Peroulis dodges tackles left and right in the Bulldogs' Monday freshmen/junior varsity game against Steamboat Springs at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. The team won, 36-0. Varsity will travel Friday to Basalt.

Now that the Moffat County High School varsity football team is entrenched in the conference portion of its season, the time has come for players to buckle down and get things done on the gridiron.

That's what the Bulldogs hope to accomplish Friday, traveling to Basalt to take on the Longhorns and ideally move up in the rankings of the 2A Western Slope North League.

The 1-4 MCHS team had its first league loss last week in a 41-27 defeat against Battle Mountain. Back on the road, it plans to put a halt to 2-3 Basalt's recent winning streak.

"From what I've seen on film, they're very athletic, as is everyone in 2A I'm starting to believe," coach Keith Gille said about the upcoming opponents.

Two things will be vital, the first of which is simply a powerful defensive effort.

"If we can stop their running game, we've got them. That's what we did with Ridge View," Gille said, referencing Moffat County's Sept. 5 home win. "They're an I (formation) team, so they're going to be rushing a lot."

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The second component is playing a complete game, which the Bulldogs have struggled with, often allowing mishaps on one play to impact the next. Gille mentioned the Battle Mountain match, where the team had the lead with less than one minute in the first half and crumbled at the last second.

"I think that really affected their confidence when they came back from halftime," he said.

Also a problem in the second half of the Battle Mountain game was the Huskies targeting the younger players on the Bulldogs. It’s not unusual to try and exploit the less experienced members of a team.

"I used to coach baseball and anytime you would send in one of the young kids, the other team would always hit it right to him," Gille said.

Freshmen and sophomores who have suited up for varsity games have been a welcome addition on a team that isn't exactly bursting with upperclassmen, though many lack the physical strength needed, Gille said.

However, an example of the younger players' skills was on display Monday during a freshmen/junior varsity game at home against Steamboat Springs, which resulted in a 36-0 blowout for MCHS.

"That's the kind of football we need to be playing," Gille said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.