Homecoming week is under way for Moffat County High School, and in a busy sports slate, a group with less accolades kicked it off.
The underclassmen that make up the Moffat County C football team took center stage Monday, playing Meeker at the Bulldog Proving Grounds.
Meeker sophomore Jeff Wagner would have a field day, scoring four total touchdowns for the Cowboys in a 38-18 win.
Turnovers plagued the mostly-freshman group for Moffat County, which gave up the ball three times deep in Meeker territory.
The game started off looking bright, as Brett Loyd gave Moffat County the lead midway through the first quarter on a three-yard touchdown run.
Meeker would respond immediately, scoring on the next drive in under two minutes, with a 15-yard run from freshman quarterback TJ Shelton. Wagner, a sophomore for Meeker, would give the Cowboys the lead in the second quarter, breaking outside for a 75-yard run.
The running game worked well all day for the Cowboys, and coach Ron DuPree liked what he saw.
“Both sides of the ball were playing well,” DuPree said. “That kid (Shelton) has never played quarterback before se we were trying to give him a look. And 33 (Wagner), that’s the most he’s carried it all year. He’s been injured some, so it was good to have him back.”
With the score 14-6 and halftime nearing, Moffat County looked to be closing in on a score to close the gap. But with 1:15 remaining, wide receiver Eli Simpson fumbled after a first down catch and run inside the Meeker red zone.
The score remained 14-6 throughout the third quarter without either team making any serious scoring threats. On the first play of the fourth quarter, however, Devon Pontine broke through the line for a 60-yard TD run, giving Meeker a 20-6 lead.
That kicked off what would become a wild fourth quarter.
A host of touchdowns followed, with a 16-yard by Wagner giving Meeker a 26-6 lead. On the next possession, Kody Fief caught a pass behind the Cowboys’ defense and sprinted in from 66 yards out to make it 26-12.
A comeback was not in the cards, though. Wagner would run for another touchdown, and after a Shandon Hadley touchdown run pulled the Bulldogs to within 32-18, Wagner intercepted a pass and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
It was a loss that was much closer than the final score indicated, said MCHS coach Shane Hadley.
“Turnovers just killed us,” he said. “I know how we felt against Delta (when the varsity team had six turnovers). We had so many points we missed out on. At the end there, though, they never quit. That’s so meaningful to me that they didn’t just pack it in.
“I’ll take that effort, every time.”
Now halfway through their season, the Bulldogs C team is still winless, but that is a product of many of the teams they are playing, Hadley said.
“We’ve lost some games this year to all these junior varsity teams with 50 kids, and they’re not all freshmen,” Hadley said. “There’s a bunch of older kids, because a lot of these teams don’t have enough freshman. We are a mostly freshman team. It’s a big group, but they’re going against older kids.”
Still, Hadley said he thinks this group is enjoying playing the game, and that will help the wins start to come, even if it is not this season.
“You can get killed and get beaten, but if you stick with it, you can change that,” he said. “You can get on the other side of the scoreboard and appreciate winning. At the end of the day it’s a game. It’s still fun. We had some smiles on their faces at the end of the game today, and that’s what we want.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.