Craig Moffat County's 1-point win over Steamboat Springs last season still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the Sailors, who are hungry this year to avenge the close loss that took place on their home field.
Players refer to it as "operation Moco" at Steamboat Springs High School, which means beating the Bulldogs at home on Oct. 13.
Moffat County finished 5-2 in the league last year, making it to the state playoffs before losing 41-14 to Eaton High School in the first round.
The Bulldogs, 6-5 last season, lose most of their talented defense from 1999. The team will have to count on the offense to score a lot of points in order to have another successful year.
John Haddan, third year coach, has one of the state's top players in Kevin Voorhes, a senior wide receiver who hauled in 35 receptions in 1999. Voorhes, 6-foot-3 and 165 pounds, also had six interceptions, helping his team to finish tied for second in the Western Slope 3A League.
Senior quarterback Jeff Gaylord is in charge of an offense that is extremely talented in the backfield. Seniors Nathan Browning, a running back, and Dylan Schopper, a fullback, are sure to pack a tough one-two punch behind Gaylord.
Athletic director Rob Sanders said he expects the offense to bring a balanced attack into the new season.
"They definitely should be strong again this year," Sanders said.
Moffat County's toughest challenge may be Palisade High School, who is ranked No. 3 in 3A football, but Sanders says he expects the league to be stacked with a lot of talent.
Moffat County dropped from 4A football last year, but Sanders sees the team's entrance into 3A as a challenge.
"I think a weakness of ours is not knowing a lot of the teams we'll be playing this year," he said. "I don't think we have an easy game on our schedule."
Moffat County has 72 players in the football program. The team's goal is to make another run at the state playoffs, though Sanders knows the feat will be difficult.
"I think they'll fare well," he said, "but I think they're in a very tough league."
Voorhes agrees, but is confident about the season.
"We expect to do good," Voorhes said. "We have high expectations, and look to do OK."
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