Even with its best performance of the season, the Moffat County football team still is searching for its first win.
The Bulldogs opened up the playbook and had major success in the passing game, but still couldn’t hang with the visiting Eagle Valley Devils. They lost, 49-12, falling to 0-5 this season.
The game swung on a key play near the end of the first half with Moffat County trailing, 22-6, and in a second-and-goal situation. The Bulldogs had produced a lengthy drive to get down and sought to turn the game in to a one-score affair at the intermission. But quarterback Joe Camilletti’s quick pass to the sideline was intercepted by Harrison Stevens, of the Devils, and returned 93 yards for a touchdown. All of a sudden, Eagle Valley’s lead ballooned to 23 heading into the half.
“We’ve got to capitalize on our opportunities,” said head coach Kip Hafey. “We had two dropped passes in the first half, and a holding call inside the five that stalled our drive. Man, if we convert on those, we might have even had the lead at half.”
Before the interception, Moffat County had hung tough with the Devils. They surrendered an early touchdown to Devils quarterback Orin Reichardt, but responded with a drive deep into Eagle Valley territory.
On a fourth-down play later on the drive, Matt Hamilton got behind his defender going down the sideline, but dropped the pass from quarterback Joe Camilletti inside the 5 yard line.
After a couple more Reichardt rushing touchdowns, Hamilton would atone for his mistake. He caught a deep pass that Camilletti again put on the money and sprinted down the sideline for a 67-yard score to make it 22-6. Hamilton would finish the game just shy of 150 yards receiving.
The two juniors connected again on a fourth-and-24 late in the first half to push the ball into the red zone. But the pick-six came just a few plays later to turn that drive away and break open the game.
Moffat County drove into the Eagle Valley red zone on two other occasions, but was turned away on downs both times.
The Bulldogs defense avoided giving up big plays for the most part, but did not shut the Devils running attack down, either. The Eagle Valley stable of backs, including Reichardt, Luis Chavez and Riley Rowles, consistently was able to chew up yardage on the ground with gains of 5 to 15 yards.
Brayden Peterson ran tough all night, amassing more than 120 yards and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. He was still frustrated after losing another game, but acknowledged the team took a step forward.
“That was the best game we’ve played all year,” Peterson said. “We scored twice and moved the ball, against a team that killed Steamboat, and Steamboat crushed us.”
Hafey also was pleased with effort.
“We definitely battled and played hard and got better tonight,” he said.
Now halfway through their season, Peterson wants the Bulldogs to stay positive heading into a road matchup at Summit County.
“We’ve got to get our heads up and take the momentum from the things we did tonight,” he said. “We finally looked like a team on offense, and Summit is a beatable team if we play like this.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org