MCHS Football vs. Ridge View Academy
The Moffat County High School football team beat Ridge View Academy, 40-15, in its first game of the season Saturday at the Bulldog Proving Grounds.
"There was more than a two-foot gap, so I just shot through, and he sort of gave me the ball. I didn't even expect it. As soon as he turned around, I was taking it from him."
— Josh Pritchard, MCHS senior, about his fumble recovery in the end zone to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Craig Despite sluggish starts to both halves of their first game of the season, the Moffat County High School football team is 1-0.
The Bulldogs capitalized on an excellent defensive performance and made big plays on offense to beat an athletic team from Ridge View Academy, 40-15.
Head coach Kip Hafey saw plenty of good from the game but afterward was more focused on his team's miscues.
"I'm happy with the win," Hafey said. "Anytime you get a win, you've got to be happy, but we have got to limit our mistakes. We've got to focus on our blocks on offense; we missed too many of those. Defensively, we did some great things, but then again, we've got to tackle better. We definitely have some things to improve on."
The Bulldogs' first score of the season came under unusual circumstances. After stalling on their first two drives, the Bulldogs recovered a fumble on a punt in Rams territory.
They drove into the red zone but were stopped on fourth down and goal from the one-yard line. On the next play, senior linebacker Josh Pritchard swiped the ball from Ridge View quarterback Dreion Dearing in the backfield, before he could hand the ball off.
"I read the gap," said Pritchard, who also plays running back for MCHS. "There was more than a two-foot gap, so I just shot through, and he sort of gave me the ball. I didn't even expect it. As soon as he turned around, I was taking it from him."
After that, the MCHS offense got into more of a groove. While the running game was not as effective as during the team's scrimmage with Coal Ridge High School, the passing game produced several big plays to increase Moffat County's lead.
Sophomore wide receiver Joe Camilletti scored on a 40-yard bomb from quarterback Bubba Ivers to make the score 14-0 in the first quarter. Ivers connected later in the half with senior Jarret Walt for a 66-yard touchdown.
Ivers said the Bulldogs' superior condition came into play as the offense had more success.
"We were just running them to death," he said. "That's when our conditioning came in. We were going up-tempo (on offense), so they couldn't get any subs in. We just kept using that."
The ability to exploit a variety of weapons across the field is what the new Bulldogs offense is designed for. It is also to show a defense they cannot key on one or two players against MCHS.
"I guarantee at halftime they were thinking about it that our outside receiver on the left scored, our inside guy on the right (senior Jacob Teeter) scored on a reverse, the outside guy (on the right) scored a touchdown," Ivers said. "They still have to think about the running backs and quarterback. They have to cover the whole field."
MCHS went into halftime with a 27-0 lead and perhaps came out overconfident in the second half. Hafey and his players all acknowledged a weaker performance to start the third quarter.
"I think we just need to stay mentally focused," Ivers said after the game. "We were up, and some of us were like, 'We've got this in the bag.' We can't do that. Against a good team, they'll put up 27 in a half just like we did."
The season's first game came with a price, as well. Backup quarterback Matt Hamilton injured his hand and wrist on a sack, and running back Michael Samuelson hobbled of the field in the second half with an ankle injury. Both players came off the field under their own power, but Hafey said he does not know the severity of either injury.
Coaches and players knew they didn't play a perfect game in Week One but are pleased to start the season in the win column.
"It feels good," Pritchard said. "We've just got to keep it rolling, man."