The Moffat County High School defense, including Ryder Seely (24) and Garret Stewart (23) pressure Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Christian Ramirez in the first half of the teams' Friday night game at Gardner Field. Ramirez got a pass off on the play, but it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Moffat County High School defense, including Ryder Seely (24) and Garret Stewart (23) pressure Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Christian Ramirez in the first half of the teams' Friday night game at Gardner Field. Ramirez got a pass off on the play, but it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Moffat County wins big in wild game in Steamboat

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Moffat County High School quarterback Bubba Ivers looks to pass down field in the first half of Friday night's football game in Steamboat Springs against the Sailors.

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Moffat County High School quarterback Bubba Ivers avoids pressure before completing a pass in the first half of the Bulldogs game against Steamboat Springs High School Friday night at Gardner Field.

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Moffat County's Dru Nielson (73) and Michael Samuelson (12) celebrate after the MCHS football team scored a defensive touchdown against Steamboat Springs High School Friday night at Gardner Field.

By the Numbers...

Moffat County leaders vs. Steamboat

Passing: Bubba Ivers, 13-18, 144 yards, 2 TD

Rushing: Ivers, 22 carries, 114 yards,

Receiving: Garret Stewart, five catches, 78 yards, TD

If there is one person — and one team — that understands the importance of fast starts to the season it’s the Moffat County football team.

The Bulldogs watched the last two years slip away in the first half of the season. Each time furious finishes couldn’t couldn’t overcome porous starts.

So for a team looking to get back to the playoffs Friday was a good sign.

Moffat, after a quick start and then a lull, dominated the second half Friday, dispatching of Steamboat 56-27 Friday night at Gardner Field.

“That was our big thing,” Moffat coach Kip Hafey said. “We needed a league win. We talked about that before the rivalry. It was a hard one (last week) against Rifle. This was a big test for us. We had to bounce back.”

And initially it appeared, Moffat would simply run away with the game.

In a beautifully sloppy and absolutely unpredictable first half, the tide turned and turned and then turned again.

The Bulldogs were up 14-0 58 seconds into the game after Levi Ogden returned a Christian Ramirez fumble 22 yards for a touchdown. Josh Pritchard picked off Ramirez on the next possession and returned it for a touchdown.

“We spotted them two,” Steamboat coach Lonn Clementson said.

After Ramirez found Billy Clark from 60-yards out to cut it to 14-7, Moffat poured it on. The Bulldogs got a Garrett Stewart touchdown run and a pair of touchdown passes from Bubba Ivers to go up 35-7 with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left.

Then things got weird.

Brad Ryan cut it to 35-13 with a 55-yard touchdown run. Steamboat got an onside kick and Ramirez found Penn Lukens from 1-yard out to cut it to 35-19. Then after an Ivers fumble, Ramirez found Skyler Kauf from 24 yards out to cut it to 35-27.

All that happened in 4:24 to close out the half.

But the turning point came early in the third quarter. After Steamboat stopped Moffat’s fake punt attempt on fourth down, the Sailors had the ball at the Moffat 32 with a chance to tie the game.

Ramirez scampered 34 yards for a touchdown run.

Penalty flag. On the next offensive play Ramirez — who was under immense pressure all night — threw his fourth interception of the game.

Moffat put together a 13-play, 83-yard drive that took 5:12 off the clock to go up 42-27.

Steamboat would never recover.

“That was the turning point,” said Clementson, whose team gave up 35 points off of seven turnovers.

Moffat put together two more sustained drives — capped by Josh Pritchard and Michael Samuelson touchdown runs — to put the game away.

“Just too many mistakes,” Clementson said. “Points off of turnovers or just spotting points in general, it wasn’t typical of who we are. It happens.”

Ivers had a game. He was 13 of 18 passing for 144 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He also carried the ball 22 times for 114 yards. Ramirez had a tough night finishing 6 of 21 with four interceptions and three touchdown passes.

Moffat (2-1 overall, 1-1 in the Western Slope League) returns to play at 7 p.m. Friday when the team welcomes Delta.

Steamboat (1-2, 0-2) plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Glenwood Springs.

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