Pass-happy Panthers in town
The season totals for the Moffat County High School football team and its opponents is heavily weighed in the Bulldogs’ favor, except in two categories: turnover ratio and yards per catch. The Bulldogs’ opponent in the final home game of the season is going to challenge at least one of those stats.
The Montezuma Cortez Panthers have passed for more yards — 1,143 (not including last week’s stats) — than any team in the Western Slope League. Panther receiver Ryan Weber has more yards receiving — 761 — than anyone in the league.
The Bulldog secondary, which has struggled in passing situations, will be tested.
“(Cortez) will bring a lot of shotgun,” Moffat coach Kip Hafey said. “They pretty much try to go for 10 yards on the pass every time, and if it doesn’t work they have three tries.”
The good news for the Bulldogs secondary is that junior defensive back Derek Duran will be back after sitting out last week with an injury.
The offense probably won’t complain too much, because it will have its starting quarterback on the field again.
“Derek should make a difference for us on both sides this week,” Hafey said.
The Bulldogs altered their defense last week after struggling to get to the quarterback in their past seven games.
The team went from a six-linemen, two-linebacker set to a five-linemen, three-backer set.
The change gave the defensive ends differing assignments.
Last week, their main responsibility was going after the quarterback.
It resulted in five sacks against Pueblo West.
“We’ll switch up defenses depending on the situation,” Hafey said.
“But the 5-3 worked well for us last week.”
Panthers coach Tom Adair was unavailable for comment because the team left for the game Thursday, but just by its record, the team apparently has improved.
Last year, they didn’t win a game. This year, they jumped out to a 5-0 record that included a 34-7 win against Steamboat Springs. But things haven’t gone well since. Four straight losses have eliminated them from playoff contention.
But that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs expect an easy game.
“It’s their last game, so of course they’ll go hard,” Hafey said.
“We have to match their intensity, and with it being Parents Night and our final regular-season home game, I think we will.”
The Bulldogs have locked up a second seed and a home playoff game next week.
But don’t tell them the playoffs start next week.
“This is a playoff game for us,” Hafey said.
“We need to be disciplined and get locked in early.”
The Bulldogs and the pass-happy Panthers are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.