Here’s the beef |

Here’s the beef

The Bulldog interior line is team's 'heart'

We'll have full coverage, including a game story and a gallery of color photos, available on our Web site shortly after the end of the today's quarterfinal game. Go to http://www.craigdailypre....

If only Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s Restaurant, were still alive. The Moffat County High School football team could finally answer the question that was asked in the famous Wendy’s commercials.

“Where’s the beef?”

The question was a famous as “Got Milk” has become now. It put Wendy’s on the map.

So where’s the beef? The Moffat County interior line is the answer.

“When I moved here my freshman year, I saw that I wasn’t the only big guy, and I was happy,” said 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior Michael Babb. “Where I moved from there was only one other big guy, and I could see we had more than a few.”

Babb joined a freshman class that has had four other linemen develop into a wall that opposing teams have tried to find a way around all season.

Seniors Jerry DesJardins, 6-foot-1 260, Stetson Otero, 6-foot 265, Kyle Fredrickson, 6-foot-3 250 and Erik Plate, 5-foot-9 210, join Babb in the starting lineup. Sophomores Cory Pike, 6-foot-0 215, and Blake Kawcak, 5-foot-10 180, are the only underclassmen in the group.

“The seniors have taught us that if we have a problem. they’ll be there for us,” said Kawcak, who took over at center this year for his brother Blaine, who graduated.

The Bulldog coaching staff has been impressed with this senior class since they were freshmen. This summer, in team camp at the University of Wyoming, coach Kip Hafey took his line aside and gave them a talk.

“I told them that they were the key to us winning a state championship this year,” he said. “I said that there are many parts of the body that one can lose and still survive but you can’t survive without your heart. They are our heart.”

There have been several articles published this week about how the heart of Niwot is the linebacking group.

None of the lineman had read the stories.

“None of that affects us,” Otero said. “We have to perform regardless of who we play.”

That kind of comment didn’t surprise Hafey.

“These guys are all about their team but they’re also very focused on their own individual job,” Hafey said. “If they’re physical Saturday, I feel good about our chances.”

The linemen agreed that if they are to win against Niwot, a lot of it will rely on their play.

“Coach has told us the line is the trench and behind us is the battlefield,” Babb said. “The trench is where it will be won.”

For the Bulldogs to be successful, they know they have to pressure quarterback Clint Stapp. The defensive ends for the Bulldogs have been the primary players to put pressure on the quarterback this year.

“That’s because we play a lot of teams who run the ball, and we have to think run first,” Babb said.

“These guys primarily pass so we’ll be thinking forward progress instead of about filling a gap,” Fredrickson said.

The line has opened up holes to allow for more than 3,000 yards on the ground, fourth in Class 3A, and given quarterback Derek Duran enough time to throw for more than 1,400 yards, seventh in 3A.

“What’s great about these guys … is that they listen to us and then they do it better than we told them to,” Hafey said.The linemen see themselves as the big brothers in a family.

“I’m going to protect my family because I know they would do the same,” Babb said. “They’re my brothers.”

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