Football team earns post-season honors

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At last year's Moffat County High School football banquet, the only regret coach Kip Hafey expressed was that the celebration wasn't a couple of weeks later. As it was, the team moved the banquet back one week this year.

It would be hard to argue that the Bulldogs' resume wasn't impressive this season. The four losses in the team's 8-4 record came against accomplished teams. The three losses to Colorado squads came to three of the top four teams in Class 3A. The Bulldogs lost to Steamboat Springs, a final four competitor, Florence, a state finalist, and Palisade the state champion. Moffat County's season-opening loss to Green River, Wyo. was against a team that made it to the quarterfinals of the largest class division in Wyoming.

At the team banquet the coaches handed out their season awards. Senior Nick Goodenow was named the oustanding defensive lineman. Senior Blaine Kawcak was named outstanding offensive lineman. Senior Cody Palmer was named special teams MVP. Junior Scott Garoutte was named the defensive MVP, and senior Aaron Sanchez received the offensive MVP award.

With their third-place finish in the Western Slope Conference, the Bulldogs also received their share of awards voted on by other coaches. The blue and white earned seven all-conference awards, four first-team honors and three honorable mentions.

Senior Shea Carr earned first team awards for his play at linebacker this season. Despite missing a game with a shoulder injury Carr still led the Bulldogs in tackles. The coaches gave Carr accolades for his work in the off-season to come back to help lead the Bulldogs on defense.

First team honoree Garoutte was second in tackles for the Bulldogs at linebacker and also added some bulk in the backfield as the fullback. When handing out the award, Hafey said that many coaches commented on Garoutte's presence on the field and that Bulldogs will rely on him a lot on both sides of the ball next year.

Goodenow's side of the field on defense was not one that opposing offenses wanted to run to this year. The defensive end terrorized quarterbacks most of the year and when there was a need for an offensive lineman he also filled in. Goodenow played in the state quarterfinal game not at 100 percent with a leg injury, but still started and contributed as he had all year.

Sanchez was the final first team selection for the Bulldogs. He rushed for 1,209 yards as the quarterback, splitting his time with the halfbackposition. Another Bulldog who hopes to play at the next level also strengthened his resume as a linebacker this year after playing just offense his junior year.

As a sophomore, Derek Duran took over at quarterback halfway through the season for the Bulldogs. But his contributions as field general may not have been what earned him honorable mention. The defensive back had seven interceptions for the season and will be key on both sides of the ball if the Bulldogs are to improve on their state quarterfinal finish this year.

The speedster on offense for the Bulldogs this and last season was Palmer. He played at wide receiver and halfback. He rushed for 552 yards and had 449 yards with 22 receptions. In addition to his 1,001 yards on offense his special team contributions improved Moffat County's field position throughout the season.

Senior Georgie Raftopoulos is the final honorable mention Bulldog. Defensive ends have become a strong tradition the last few years at Moffat County and Raftopoulos added to that. He and Goodenow made it difficult for teams to run on the outside and for quarterbacks to have any time in the pocket. His moved from linebacker to end helped solidify the Bulldog defense as one of the top in the state again.

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