Craig Moffat County football tested its work this summer in a preseason scrimmage Saturday, coming away from the pseudo-game with the expected helpings of good and bad.
The Bulldogs traveled to New Castle and scrimmaged Coal Ridge, a Western Slope League team in the 2A division, a class below Moffat County. The Titans boast a larger student body than Moffat County and have a roster filled with speed, so head coach Kip Hafey knew the Bulldogs would have their hands full.
It became an even more difficult task for Moffat County when starting quarterback Matt Hamilton, a junior, dislocated his shoulder at the end of a long run.
“It’s just one of those things that happens,” Hafey said about the injury, which occurred as Hamilton was tackled. “We don’t know much about it yet or how long he’ll be out.”
With limited depth, the Bulldogs cannot afford many injuries. But Hamilton’s replacements stepped up and performed admirably the rest of the way Hafey said. Junior Joe Camilletti came in at quarterback and conducted the offense well.
“He had a great afternoon,” Hafey said about Camilletti’s play. “He completed some passes and had some good runs. It’s a good thing we have him available.”
Sophomore Kody Fief replaced Hamilton at safety on defense and also did well. Fief does not have the same length as Hamilton but came through with a couple of pass knockdowns anyway.
Aside from that, Hafey mostly liked what he saw across the board. The Bulldogs have preached fundamental soundness all summer and mostly stuck to that Saturday.
“We’re all about, ‘Do your job,’” Hafey said. “The kids did that today. They played assignment football. We made very few mental mistakes, and that’s how we have to play.”
Score was not kept during the scrimmage, and penalties were called by referees, but the yardage was not assessed. The focus was about giving both teams snaps on offense and defense regardless of the outcome of each play.
One concern for Moffat County entering the scrimmage was the speed Coal Ridge brought to the field, with state champion sprinters from the 2013 track season. But their speed was kept in check by the Bulldogs defense.
“We never got beat on the outside once,” Hafey said. “It was really solid defense on the edge.”
In the next week, Moffat County will focus on individual skills and technique to prepare for Ridge View Academy. Continuing to shore up their fundamental base is the goal for the first game of the season.
It also will wait for news about Hamilton’s shoulder, but if he is not cleared to play Saturday, Camilletti will be the starter, and freshman Keenan Hildebrandt is the likely backup. No matter the personnel, the Bulldogs will stay positive.
“Our attitude continues to be so positive, and the work ethic is great,” Hafey said. “That’s what we need.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org