Moffat County football to finish season strong at Roaring Fork
Playoffs remain possible for Bulldogs
While the last week of the regular season is almost a formality for many segments of Colorado 2A varsity football, anything could happen for the teams in the Western Slope North League.
Moffat County High School will complete its season Friday with a road game in Carbondale against Roaring Fork High School, the only league team they have yet to face.
“It’s a good coach and a good team,” Coach Keith Gille said. “They’re another I-formation team, so we’re going to have to watch for that.”
Gille said the challenge will be in containing the Rams’ running game.
“If you look at the teams that blew us out (Rifle, Gunnison), we couldn’t stop the run, and in the end, even the teams that didn’t we couldn’t control the run,” he said. “If you look at the best teams in the state, they’re all running teams. They may pass well, but they all run.”
The word of the day will be “focus” as players keep their heads in the game, a task easier said than done considering what’s at stake.
MCHS is in the thick of the search for the playoffs, but they’re not the only ones, with Aspen and Coal Ridge forming a three-way tie for second place.
The Bulldogs, the Skiers and the Titans each hold a 2-2 record among conference opponents, and while the overall season count is 3-5 for MCHS compared to 4-4 for the other two, any number of things could happen in this final week of play.
While Moffat County finishes with Roaring Fork (1-3 league, 2-6 overall), Aspen meets Basalt (1-3, 2-6) and Coal Ridge hosts Battle Mountain (4-0, 5-2).
Because of Battle Mountain’s unique situation as a 3A team playing down, the dominant Edwards team will not be eligible for the 2A postseason. With the Huskies out of the picture, the automatic playoff berth is up for grabs.
MCHS lost its standing as the favorite last Friday after a 34-14 defeat to Aspen, and the Skiers now hold the edge. Losses by both Aspen and Coal Ridge would send the Bulldogs to the next level, providing they win against the Rams.
Likewise, losses for MCHS and Coal Ridge would guarantee Aspen the playoffs coupled by a topping of the Longhorns, while if the Titans overcome Battle Mountain and the Bulldogs and Skiers lose, Coal Ridge would get the honor.
Less cut and dried is if two of these second place teams win and one loses or if all three lose, the latter of which would set up a five-way tie in the league.
That’s where the wild card rankings come into play.
The weekly system utilized by Colorado High School Activities Association calculates each team’s points by taking into consideration the number of prior wins an opponent has had, enhanced if a team is playing out of their bracket — a loss to an undefeated team is worth only slightly less in points than a win over a team that has fallen in every game of the season.
MCHS dropped from 18th place to 23rd in the 2A division after being beaten by Aspen, the Skiers now No. 20, while lower on the list are Coal Ridge (30), Roaring Fork (33) and Basalt (34).
The playoffs will consist of 16 participating teams, nine of which have already been decided. The right conditions will translate to the Bulldogs nabbing one of the guaranteed spots, but even if Aspen or Coal Ridge takes the league berth, MCHS can still find one of the five wild card slots, though that will involve moving rapidly upward through the rankings.
Final playoff schedules will be announced by CHSAA Sunday afternoon.
With a junior varsity squad that has gone 5-2, most recently beating Aspen 38-8, the Bulldogs have room to grow in the following years, though for the sake of the work put forth by upperclassmen, the postseason would be a mighty nice outcome for all.
A ticket to the playoffs may or may not be in the cards for Gille, and he may have to cross his fingers when it comes to other teams, but he’s made it clear to his team that playing their hearts out Friday is the only way to make the most of this last leg of the season.
“That’s all we can do,” Gille said.
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