Although the final score of 46-13 may not have shown it, Kip Hafey, Moffat County High School head football coach, saw something in his team that could help them through the next eight games.
“I am so proud of these guys,” he said. “They never gave up. This is a great group of kids, because they went out every quarter with the same amount of determination and grit.”
Playing Friday in Aspen, the Skiers (1-0, 0-0 in the 2A Western League) were able to go through the air to get by the Bulldogs (0-2 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League).
Aspen struck first with a six-yard touchdown reception by Jake Nugent in the first quarter.
With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Aspen’s star running back Nick Ufkes, who ran for more than 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, pounded it in from seven yards out to give the Skiers a 14-0 advantage.
Early in the second quarter, Quinn Morehead was the recipient of a 10-yard touchdown lob to give the Skiers a 21-0 lead.
Moffat County was then able to control Ufkes and stuffed his fourth-down conversion attempt to set up on the Skiers 40-yard line.
On the very next play, sophomore quarterback Bubba Ivers found senior Brady Conner, who barreled over several Aspen defenders for a 40-yard touchdown.
It was Conner’s third touchdown reception on the young season.
Moffat County’s point after attempt failed, and the Skiers led, 21-6.
With six minutes remaining in the half, Ufkes again found the end zone from four yards out for his second touchdown.
With less than two minutes remaining, Moffat County would allow Ufkes his longest run of the night, a 45-yard sprint down the sideline to make the score 34-6. Aspen added a 42-yard field goal before the end of the half to go into halftime with a 37-6 lead.
Ufkes would break off a 30-yard touchdown run, his third, to make the score 44-6 in favor of the Skiers.
Although he had more than 70 yards on two touchdown runs, Hafey said he was pleased with how the Bulldogs handled Ufkes, who averaged 208 yards per game in 2009.
“We were up against the top running back in the state, and if we didn’t give up those two big runs, we would have held him under 100 yards,” Hafey said. “Our defense shut him down for most of the game, forcing them to go to the air.”
Aspen would sack the Moffat County punter in the end zone for a safety that would cap their scoring at 46.
With time running out in the game, Ivers, wing back Miguel Molina and tailback Mason Updike smashed their way to Aspen’s 1-yard line.
Braeden Sullivan bowled over a wall off Aspen defenders to finish the scoring at 46-13.
Moffat County will have a bye week Sept. 10, then return home to play the John F. Kennedy Commanders at 7 p.m. Sept. 17.