The Moffat County High School football team gathered Monday night to celebrate it's season. For coach Kip Hafey, it also was a celebration of the program's continued improvement.
"We have two colleges coming here this week to talk to our guys," he said. "When I started we didn't have any teams coming here and this year we had interest from three (NCAA Division I) schools. Colleges see a winning program and want to find out why we're winning."
The simplest way to measure the program's improvement during Hafey's three years as head coach is by checking the team's records -- 6-5 in 2002, 8-4 in 2003, and 10-2 in 2004.
The Bulldogs also have gone from fourth to second in the Western Slope League. The improvement in WSL placing has also yielded more all-league players.
The 2004 Bulldogs had five first-team All-League selections.
MCHS business teacher and football statistics guru Eric Unglaub provided the season's numbers.
Senior lineman Michael Babb: Babb's size (6 feet, 6 inches, 275 pounds) had opposing teams' attention before they even stepped on the field. The lineman had one of his best games of the season against the big boys of Niwot. He finished with 11 tackles, second on the team. Babb and the offensive line anchored the offense with the most yards in Class 3A. The senior also was very proud of his two interceptions while on defense. Babb has been invited to play in the all-state football game for the state's best players.
Junior quarterback/defensive back Derek Duran: Duran was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in all classes. He completed nearly 60 percent of his passes (88-for-51) with 29 of his completions going for more than 20 yards. Duran threw 18 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions, and his numbers were good enough for an NFL quarterback rating of 107.5. He finished the season in the top 10 of Class 3A with 1,386 yards passing.
Senior linebacker/fullback Scott Garoutte: This is the Garoutte's second first-team award. On offense Garoutte was tackled for a loss only four times in 146 carries. He was second on the team in rushing with 846 yards and had seven runs for 20 or more yards. He led the team in scoring with 21 touchdowns and 126 points. He also led the team in receptions with 20 catches for 286 yards. On defense Garoutte led the team in tackles and had three sacks. Garoutte will join Babb in the all-state game.
Senior linebacker/running back Kellan Moore: The running back finished in the top 10 in 3A in rushing with 1,275 yards on 178 carries, a 7.2 yards-per-carry average. He rushed for more than 100 yards in seven of 12 games. The senior had 18 rushing touchdowns and was second in scoring with 120 points. On defense Moore was second in tackles.
Senior lineman Stetson Otero: Otero was on an offensive line that only allowed five sacks in 182 passing plays.
The push that he and the line provided allowed the Bulldogs to be successful on 37 of 42 third-down conversions that were 3 yards or fewer. Behind Otero and his boys, the Moffat County backs were thrown for a loss in only 37 of 521 plays, a 93 percent success rate.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.