Moffat County football is seeking its first win of the season Friday when it hosts Steamboat Springs in Craig. Junior Matt Hamilton has practiced at full capacity with the team this week and will get the nod to start at quarterback.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Moffat County football is seeking its first win of the season Friday when it hosts Steamboat Springs in Craig. Junior Matt Hamilton has practiced at full capacity with the team this week and will get the nod to start at quarterback.

Moffat County will try to shut down Steamboat at home opener

If you go...

What: Steamboat Springs (1-1, 0-1 Western Slope League) at Moffat County (0-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Bulldog Proving Grounds at Moffat County High School

Details: Doak Walker Football Night will be celebrated at halftime. Each team from the youth football leagues in Craig will get the chance to play a possession under the lights at the Proving Grounds.

— After a difficult start to the season, punctuated by a 62-0 drubbing a week ago, the Moffat County High School football team returns to Craig to play in front of a home crowd for the first time this season.

Moffat County has started slowly, losing at Ridge View Academy and Rifle in the first two weeks of the season and failing to score an offensive touchdown in either game. The Bulldogs will look to right the ship against their rivals from across the Yampa Valley on Friday.

“You’ve got to love your home opener. We’re excited to be here,” coach Kip Hafey said. “Then you add that it’s a rivalry game with Steamboat on top of that.”

Steamboat was beaten handily by Eagle Valley in its first game of the season but rebounded and beat Summit High School in Game Two in a 37-32 shootout.

Sophomore quarterback Zachary Holm is in his first year at the helm of the Steamboat offense. He combined with junior Mitch McCannon for 162 yards and two touchdowns through the air against Summit.

McCannon also ran for 99 yards and two more touchdowns in that game, but it was Holm’s scrambling ability that stood out to Moffat County when watching tape.

“It’s all about getting the QB,” senior Brady Springer said. “He’s been their best runner, so keeping him contained and hitting him.”

While Moffat County’s defense was overwhelmed by Rifle, it played tough in the first game of the season. Steamboat’s offense passes more than the Bulldogs’ other opponents so far, so avoiding big plays will be key.

“They threw the ball extremely well versus Summit and put up 37 points,” Hafey said. “Their offense really spread the field, and they’ve got a lot of weapons. We’re going to have to mix up coverages and keep them confused.”

All the defense in the world won’t help, however, if the Bulldogs offense is unable to put points on the board once again. They have worked to keep the ball moving.

“We want to pound it down their throats,” Brayden Peterson said. “In Rifle, we were able to start moving the ball but lost it. So it’s going to be avoiding turnovers, holding onto the ball. We just need to finish.”

Moffat figures to get a boost on both sides of the ball with junior Matt Hamilton returning from injury. Hamilton was slated to be the starter at quarterback and safety before going down in a preseason scrimmage. He will be back in those positions Friday night.

But Hafey knows it will take more than one player to turn the early season around for the Bulldogs and put a "1" in the wins column.

“He’s just come back this week. This is his first game,” he said. “We’re excited to have him back, but that’s just one part of the puzzle. We’ve got to put everybody together and gel and then make it work.”

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

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