Leaving it on the lines
Bulldog lines key to success
On paper, the defensive and offensive lines of Moffat County are among the smallest in the Western Slope League.
The coaches know that, and they know that the lines need to play bigger than their size for success the rest of the season.
The positive is that the 35-14 win against Delta was a performance to build on.
” Both of our lines are starting to come together well,” coach Kip Hafey said. “We have to establish our run the rest of the year, and that starts with the line.”
Against Delta, the Bulldogs used 13 different linemen in the game. The frequent subs were used to keep everyone fresh and to see how different personnel worked together.
Juniors Chris Pankey and Dean Harvey are examples of what this year’s line is about. Neither player weighs more than 200 pounds, but against Delta, they both saw the most playing time they had since the season’s opening game against Rawlins, Wyo.
“We are going to bring guys in and out, so in the third and fourth quarter, we’ll be in better condition than the other team,” Hafey said.
“We were having a lot of fun,” said Harvey, who started at defensive end. “I think the defensive line has really come together.”
Of the 72 points the defense has surrendered this season, 37 of the points were against the first team in regulation. That’s less than seven points a game.
“The defense has done a good job for us creating turnovers and keeping us in ball games,” Hafey said. “We’ve been able to score points our last five times after a turnover.”
Pankey recognized that it will take a similar effort from his fellow linemen for the rest of the season.
“We all have roles, and the important thing is to play your best every play, because you never know when your block might be the most important,” he said. “My job is to give the bigger guys a rest if they need it.”
The line will be key with the Bulldogs’ upcoming schedule.
Glenwood Springs and Rifle have had strong defensive performances this season. Palisade is easily the biggest and most experienced team in the league. Montezuma-Cortez has a spread offense that can be stopped only with a strong pass rush. Pueblo West, the remaining non-league game, sitting at 2-0 in the Southern League, has rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
“There will be no team that we can beat without winning the battle in the trenches,” Hafey said. “Our league is too good for that.”
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