Full steam ahead for Moffat County football vs. Coal Ridge | CraigDailyPress.com

Full steam ahead for Moffat County football vs. Coal Ridge

Bulldogs seek to repeat last week's league win on the road Friday night

Moffat County High School football coach Keith Gille directs players during MCHS's game in Rawlins, Wyoming. The Bulldogs travel to New Castle this week to play Coal Ridge.

The first half of the season may not have gone their way, but Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School varsity football players are back on track and ready to slam through their next opponent like a freight train. varsity football players are back on track and ready to slam through their next opponent like a freight train.

Moffat County High School varsity football players are back on track and ready to slam through their next opponent like a freight train.

The Bulldogs travel to New Castle Friday where they'll meet the Coal Ridge High School Titans. Both teams are fresh off a win in their first week of play in the 2A Western Slope League.

While Moffat County took a narrow 36-33 victory against Roaring Fork last week to move to 2-3 overall, 1-4 Coal Ridge claimed its first win of the season in Aspen with a 31-22 score against the Skiers.

Along with 3-2 Basalt — which blew out Steamboat Springs, 49-0 — the 1-0 WSL teams move with confidence into the second week of conference play, a schedule that also sees 1-4 Aspen take on the rival Longhorns at Basalt's home field and Steamboat host the Rams in a match-up that will break the losing streak for one of the 0-5 schools.

In the Moffat County meeting with the Titans, it will be a mighty ground battle between the league's top two rushers, Coal Ridge's Jacx Power and the Dogs' Keenan Hildebrandt.

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Power leapt to the lead in rushing with a phenomenal 259 yards on 23 carries against the Skiers, including a best of 77 yards and scoring one touchdown, now 448 yards on the season, as detailed by MaxPrepsas detailed by MaxPreps. Hildy, second in the league’s rushing at 379 yards, scored 16 points on two TDs and a pair of two-point conversions in Carbondale, where he ran for 136.. Hildy, second in the league's rushing at 379 yards, scored 16 points on two TDs and a pair of two-point conversions in Carbondale, where he ran for 136.

as detailed by MaxPreps. Hildy, second in the league's rushing at 379 yards, scored 16 points on two TDs and a pair of two-point conversions in Carbondale, where he ran for 136.

Containing the top Titan runner will be one of the keys to this game, said head coach Keith Gille, as well as eliminating turnovers, shutting down Coal Ridge's chances to convert on third and fourth downs and complete their own scoring drive in the end zone.

On the road for the second consecutive week, Gille said he anticipates athletes to be in the right mindframe.

"Our kids I think sometimes play better on the road. It seems like there's less distractions when we get them out of here," he said. "They're just more focused."

In other elements of the game, Coal Ridge's Raul Ramirez is third in WSL's receiving ranks at 282 yards, barely edging out Moffat County's Miki Klimper at 272 in fourth. Ramirez also leads the league in interceptions with five.

On defense, the advantage goes to the Bulldogs with Klimper well in the lead in total tackles with 53. Titan Jacob Morgan follows in second with 38, but Moffat County's Kaden Hafey is third and John T Peroulis fourth in the rankings with 31 and 30, respectively.

"We've just gotta keep making tackles, keep working hard and doing what we're doing," Peroulis said.

The road win has instilled vigor back into the Moffat County roster despite injuries continuing to affect them, such as Eddie Smercina, who will sit for another week while coping with an ankle sprain, while Tane Pierce will be out with an ACL/MCL ailment sustained in practice.

Logan Knez, who missed much of last season with knee issues, said he and his teammates are more than ready for Friday's action to improve even further from last week.

"We had some faults, but we're gonna fix them and be reayd to come out and kick some butt," he said.

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