Moffat County football ready to rein in Rawlins Outlaws | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County football ready to rein in Rawlins Outlaws

Zero Week game takes Bulldogs over Wyoming border to start season

Moffat County High School football players run through drills Tuesday at MCHS in preparation for their season opener. The Bulldogs begin during Zero Week with a road game Friday in Rawlins, Wyoming.

The big night is almost here as the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School football team prepares to begin anew. football team prepares to begin anew.

Moffat County High School football team prepares to begin anew.

The Bulldogs get in motion Friday as they pile on the bus, head two hours north and visit an old foe they haven't seen for quite some time.

The Rawlins, Wyoming, Outlaws have the distinction of being the first up on the schedule for Moffat County. The two teams having gone the better part of a decade without seeing each other.

"What an opportunity for our coaches and our kids to be playing a Zero Week game and to be playing an over-the-border rival," head coach Keith Gille said.

Rawlins comes off a 2-6 season in 2015, 1-4 in Wyoming's 3A East League, compared to MCHS's 7-3 year, including a 5-0 run in the 2A Western Slope North League that earned them a repeat as conference champions and a playoff entry.

Recommended Stories For You

The Outlaws had their last postseason appearance in 2014 under then-new head coach Corey Wheeler, capping a 4-4 regular schedule with a playoff defeat to the eventual state title winners that year from Cody.

In a postseason prediction poll of coaches and media in Wyoming, WyoPrepsWyoPreps ranked Rawlins 11 out of the 12 teams in the 3A division most likely to finish with a state championship. ranked Rawlins 11 out of the 12 teams in the 3A division most likely to finish with a state championship.

WyoPreps ranked Rawlins 11 out of the 12 teams in the 3A division most likely to finish with a state championship.

While the Ratings Percentage Index that determines how Colorado teams rank throughout the season will not be in action until play begins, MaxPreps has the Bulldogs at No. 11MaxPreps has the Bulldogs at No. 11 of 42 2A schools as of 42 2A schools as Colorado High School Activities AssociationColorado High School Activities Association goes into Zero Week. goes into Zero Week.

MaxPreps has the Bulldogs at No. 11 of 42 2A schools as Colorado High School Activities Association goes into Zero Week.

History favors the Dog Pack — from 2004 to their most recent meeting in 2008, Moffat County won each of five games by as little as 26-16 and as much as 55-0.

However, in each of their past three seasons, Rawlins players have won their first game, and that trend of early energy may take the Bulldogs unaware.

With the slate clean on both sides, Gille isn't taking anything for granted as the team begins again.

"Wyoming teams are traditionally physical teams," he said, noting a Rock Springs colleague whose emphasis on intensity is a common trait among the state. "I expect the same thing Friday night."

It will be another week before the Moffat County squad dons their blue home jerseys, but Gille is looking forward to seeing athletes in their away colors, recounting memories of his childhood in the 1960s attending Denver Broncos games and watching the home and opposing teams warm up before game time.

The white outfits of the visiting Kansas City Chiefs — a stronger team at the time, coached by Hank Stram and led by quarterback Len Dawson, who represented the upstart American Football League in two of the first four Super Bowls, winning in 1970 right before the AFL's merger with the NFL — particularly stuck with the lifelong lover of the gridiron.

"White's just bigger, I think," Gille smiled. "That all-white look just impressed me as to making you look larger than you are."

Fellow MCHS coaches are no less enthused about the kickoff of another big season.

"It's a great way to start — hostile environment, different state, a great way to test them," Jeff Sullivan said.

Bulldogs and Outlaws will face off starting at 7 p.m. at Rawlins High School, 1401 Colorado St.

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.