Craig Making the transition from middle school football to the high school level is a big jump for most.
The Moffat County High School freshman football team made a huge leap forward, defeating visiting West Grand High School, 36-6, in the Bulldogs' season finale Monday.
"It's a great way to end the season," freshman co-coach Matt Ray said. "We got a chance to get all the kids into the game. It creates a lot of good memories."
Jasen Kettle has several memories to reminisce about during the offseason. The running back and punt returner scored the Bulldogs' first three touchdowns of the game, using his quickness and sharp cutting ability to run past, and around, the Mustangs.
Kettle opened the scoring for Moffat County, returning the Mustang's first punt 65 yards for a touchdown.
"I bounced off of a few guys," Kettle said, "and then I just followed my blockers the rest of the way."
On the Bulldogs' next offensive possession, Kettle broke around the left tackle for a 45-yard jaunt down the sideline. He followed up five minutes later, by taking it to the other side of the field, this time a 57-yard run off right tackle.
"Jasen is a special player," Ray said. "He's just really quick. He's getting stronger, too."
Co-coach Jim Neton was impressed with his team's performance, despite a 2-6 season.
"It was a great year for these kids," he said. "It is a big change for them coming from middle school. We had a great finish to the season tonight."
Neton credits the defensive effort of his squad. The Mustangs' 6 points were earned on an interception returned for a 75-yard touchdown.
"The defense was extremely solid tonight," he said. "They didn't allow any points against. That is a great effort."
Angelo Raftopoulos pounded the ball all night, culminating in an 18-yard touchdown burst through the center of West Grand's defense.
"I had some really good blocks," he said. "I went with them and ran as hard as I could."
With the game in hand 28-6, and 1:18 remaining, the Bulldogs had their back-ups in the game.
That didn't dissuade Neton from trying to score. The coach called a hook-and-ladder play, surprising the Mustangs.
C.J. Walt took the handoff and pitched the ball to Gage Spears, who rumbled 42-yards for a touchdown, providing the final margin of victory.
"All I was thinking about was trying to run faster than them," Spears said. "I'm not very fast at all. I usually get tackled from behind. I haven't scored all season, so I'm happy I got that last touchdown of the year."
Neton and Ray will have a new crop of freshmen to mold into football players next season. It is a chore they are used to and a task they cherish.
"It's great to be able to teach these kids something they don't know," Ray said. "It takes them a while to get there, but eventually they get the idea of what it takes to succeed at this level."
Neton is simply happy with the looks on the players' faces as they step into his program for the first time.
"They all get excited to come into high school and play football with us," he said. "I look forward to being the guy that gets to show them what it's all about."