2020: Sports Year in Review, No. 5-1 | CraigDailyPress.com

2020: Sports Year in Review, No. 5-1

Much like everything around the world, high school sports stopped abruptly in mid-March, throwing athletes and seasons into disarray due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knowing that, track and field, baseball, girls soccer and boys swimming didn’t happen in Moffat County in 2020.For much of the summer, there were questions surrounding football, basketball, boys soccer, cross country and more, but CHSAA found a way to have an abbreviated fall sports season.

While social media and other online outlets have afforded the Craig Press significant internet views throughout the year, the Craig Press staff narrowed down the top 5 sports stories based purely on pageviews at CraigDailyPress.com.

Story — Total online pageviews

No. 5 — Moffat County to play football this fall following CHSAA, state announcement — 475

After sadly gearing up to play football in March, Moffat County found itself with a unique opportunity in September.

The decision to play in the fall was made late Friday night, Sept. 18, according to head coach Lance Scranton. That decision comes a few short days after Governor Jared Polis announced new guidelines for organized sports on Wednesday, leading to a meeting of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Board of Directors.

In that meeting Wednesday night on Sept. 16, CHSAA’s Board of Directors voted to allow schools the opportunity to play fall sports such as football, field hockey and sideline cheer, beginning later this month. The decision to play football in the fall was left up to each district whether to participate in Season A, the usual fall season, or Season C, the new season designated to fall sports that were not approved for Season A.

“It’s been stressful, but we’re excited to be able to play football this fall,” Scranton said Saturday morning. “…Just being able to get back to football is great, not just for us as coaches and for this community, but for these kids; giving them some sense of normalcy is huge.”

Moffat County went on to win the 2A Western League and earned a playoff berth for the second straight year.

No. 4 — Moffat County golfers see scoring shake-up; Bulldog cross country warm up for season start — 479

With an abbreviated season on the horizon, the Moffat County Bulldogs’ golf team started the 2020 fall season fast.

The Bulldogs hit the links at Battlement Mesa Golf Club for Grand Junction High School’s tourney, ending the day right in the middle of the pack at sixth place among 11 teams with a total score of 277.

Moffat County High School's Dave Andujo tees off at Yampa Valley Golf Course during the 2020 Bulldog Invitational.

MCHS junior Dave Andujo tied for 13th place in the field of 55 players, scoring a 90 for the match, while in his first event with the squad, freshman Aron Jennings came in second among the Bulldogs, finishing with a 93.

Andujo later went on to qualify for the state tournament, rounding out a strong year for the Moffat County golf.

No. 3 — Fall football schedule set for Moffat County High School — 510

With just two 2A Western Slope League teams total opting to play football this fall, the Moffat County Bulldogs had to face a new schedule with new league opponents following a late September schedule and realignment announcement from the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Following CHSAA’s announcement, 218 schools opted to play football this fall, which equates to roughly 79% of the state. Class 4A saw the most schools opt to play in the fall with 36, equaling 85.71% according to CHSAA. Just six 4A schools will play in the spring.

For 2A, 26 schools opted to play this fall, with 12 opting for the spring, meaning 68.42% of schools will play this fall.

Moffat County found itself in the 2A West League with Middle Park, Woodland Park, Elizabeth, Delta, and Englewood. Delta was the only other 2A Western Slope League team to opt to play football this fall with the Bulldogs, which forced the Bulldogs and Panthers to be realigned in a new league for the fall season.

No. 2 — Moffat County wins Homecoming Game over Woodland Park, 27-23 — 683

In the first home game of the season, the Bulldogs moved to 2-0 in the 2A West League with a neck-and-neck match against the Woodland Park Panthers, achieving a 27-23 victory.

In a back-and-forth affair, a series of short gains kept the Bulldogs alive late before MCHS coaches called a timeout with 38 seconds to go, facing a third and 4 from the Panther 5. Facing a determined pass rush, quarterback Ryan Peck kept his throw low, but Blake Juergens was right where he needed to be, getting his hands practically on the ground to keep the pigskin off the grass for the TD catch.

Though it was a close one, Juergens said he felt confident after running the route and turning to see Peck’s throw for his second score of the night, a feeling the MCHS senior savored as his fellow Bulldogs swarmed him in the end zone.

Members of the Moffat County football team celebrate their 27-23 win over Woodland Park on Oct. 30 at home. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

The PAT got pushed back thanks to 12 men on the field, but Chris Cox hit it anyway, and the Bulldogs knew they only had to last another 32 seconds.

It seemed all over for the Panthers as Trace Frederickson snagged an interception that he ran back nearly all the way, but a defensive holding penalty negated the turnover. Still, the premature home crowd celebration proved correct when a long, last-second Woodland pass fell short as time expired.

No. 1 — Moffat County-Meeker match-up heralds football return to Northwest Colorado — 883

The feeling of Friday night lights was palpable in the confines of Meeker High School’s Starbuck Stadium as two nearby squads who haven’t faced each other on the varsity level in years squared off to begin a heavily anticipated football season on Friday, Oct. 9.

Moffat County High School’s first game was a tough test of wills against the Meeker Cowboys, one in which they fell to the Cowboys 36-14.

Three plays after the opening kickoff, the first MoCo gridiron highlight of the season was official when senior Caleb Frink snatched an interception that he nearly ran all the way back to the end zone, stopped short at the Cowboy 6-yard line.

Frink scored on the first offensive play on a 6-yard rush, and later scored the second MoCo touchdown of the season on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Peck.

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