Kaden Hafey gets around a Steamboat defender on his way to a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Craig Middle School's eight-grade game vs. Steamboat on Saturday. Hafey's score tied the game, but the Bulldogs fell to the Sailors in overtime, 9-6.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Kaden Hafey gets around a Steamboat defender on his way to a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Craig Middle School's eight-grade game vs. Steamboat on Saturday. Hafey's score tied the game, but the Bulldogs fell to the Sailors in overtime, 9-6.

Craig Middle School football splits games vs. Steamboat

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On the final day of the season, one Craig Middle School football team went out on top and the other suffered a hard-fought defeat.

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Conner Etzler (on the ground) drags down a Steamboat ballcarrier Saturday in Craig. The seventh grade Craig Middle School football team beat Steamboat, 32-0.

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Craig Middle School eighth-grader Cole White looks for space around the end Saturday in Craig.

The two teams of Bulldogs hosted Steamboat Springs Middle School on Saturday at the CMS football fields, with the seventh-graders coming away with a decisive, 32-0 victory. The eighth-grade team lost for the first time this season, falling 9-6 in overtime to the Sailors.

On a field covered in snow, the seventh-grade group of Bulldogs jumped all over the Sailors in the first half of their game, taking a 32-0 lead into halftime. Their running game was too much for the Sailors to handle, and the Bulldogs pulled away quickly.

They did not score in the second half but didn’t allow Steamboat to find the end zone either, capping their regular season on a high note.

The seventh-graders finished the season 6-2, with losses to Rangely and Rawlins early in the season but five straight wins to close it out.

The eighth-grade team, meanwhile, was attempting to finish undefeated but had one of its toughest opponents to beat in order to do so. In the end, they came up just short. The Bulldogs were unable to score in overtime after giving up a field goal to Steamboat.

Throughout the game, the Bulldogs struggled offensively but kept their heads up.

“We stuck together as a team, and that’s a good thing,” said Miki Klimper after the game. “Nobody gave up, and we got back into the game.”

After the teams battled to a scoreless draw in the first half, Steamboat struck first with a two-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. With 1:52 left in the third quarter, the Sailors took a 6-0 lead.

CMS responded after stopping the Sailors on a fourth down attempt midway through the fourth quarter. Tailback Kaden Hafey took a handoff and found a lane, racing down the sideline for a 45-yard score. Hafey was turned away on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, and the game went to overtime with the score 6-6.

After three plays with no gain on their overtime possession, Steamboat elected to kick a 27-yard field goal, which was executed to perfection and gave them the 9-6 lead.

“That kid got a great kick off,” said head coach Norm Yoast. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to that.”

The Bulldogs attempted four runs on their possession starting at the 10-yard line, and running back Thomas Baker was taken down on the three on the game’s final play.

It was a tough way for the Bulldogs to end their season, but it was a season to remember anyway.

“I think the snow slowed us down a bit, and the wet ball might have hurt us some, but (Steamboat) was dealing with the same stuff,” Yoast said. “Both teams are evenly matched. They’ve got a good group over there. We had a great year; 7-1 is pretty good.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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