Bulldogs reflect on unique, challenging year that was 2020 football season
With a first-round playoff loss to Resurrection Christian on On Nov. 21, a tumultuous season for the Moffat County Bulldogs – in which they had two games canceled and had 8 players quarantined for the first-round playoff match – came to a frustrating end.
While the Bulldog went through a number of ups and downs on the year, including significant COVID challenges, senior members of the Bulldogs are proud of the season they put together in a year that wasn’t expected to happen until March of 2021. This season was not always a foregone conclusion when COVID-19 took over the country and the world.
The Colorado High School Activities Association voted to not have football this fall on Sept. 9, only to reverse course a little under 10 days later when they announced that football could go forward this fall, while still maintaining a second season in March. That decision was left up the school districts to decide, which Moffat County decided to do on Sept. 19.
Following CHSAA’s original decision to have football in the spring, key players such as defensive tackle Corey Scranton and quarterback Ryan Peck went out for the golf team, while a handful of others joined them, or went out for cross country – the two sports Moffat County competed in in the fall. The decision to go out for other sports was something that Head Coach Lance Scranton was in favor of.
“It was really important that we let them know that they should go out, that they should play, and they should have some fun, have a little bit of a different experience,” Scranton said.
When the season was initially announced as canceled, the players expressed their frustration but their understanding that it was out of their control.
“I was just mad, but there was nothing I could do about it, so just work to get better,” senior Caleb Frink said.
The players also echoed a sentiment of understanding that playing in the spring was better than nothing.
“I was pretty disappointed, but I was still glad that we could’ve played in the spring,” senior Joe Campagna said. “So we at least had some what of an opportunity.”
After the district made the decision to play in the fall, the Bulldogs played a different schedule than they are used to, with only one other 2A Western Slope team playing this fall in the Delta Panthers. The new teams that they played belong to the 2A West League, that being Middle Park, Woodland Park, Elizabeth and Englewood.
“We didn’t know much about the other teams, but we knew that we would be able to compete and it would be a good opportunity for us to experience football on the other side of the mountain,” Coach Scranton said.
That opportunity to compete led to a 2A Western League championship for the Bulldogs, who clinched the league title with a monumental upset of Delta, 26-20, on Nov. 6.
Riding high from the league championship and upset of Delta, the Bulldogs clinched a playoff spot, but wouldn’t play again for two weeks due to a forfeit by Middle Park in the final game of the year due to COVID-19 roster issues.
Middle Park’s roster issues would be a sign of things to come for the Bulldogs, who ultimately had eight players miss the first-round playoff loss to Resurrection Christian, all eight of which were starters.
The players being quarantined for the Resurrection Christian game was when the fear crept into the player’s minds that the season might be in jeopardy. In regards to that fear, senior defensive tackle and guard Corey Scranton said it really didn’t hit him until two close friends and teammates were quarantined.
Coach Scranton said that the fear of the season hanging on a tight rope was always in his head.
“I think as we went along, week to week there was always that concern that you’re gonna get a game canceled,” Scranton said. “I mean, we just kept hoping week to week, as coaches, that the season would continue, that we would get to play and that things would be ok.”
Despite the loss of starters for the game, Moffat County battled hard, doing something most teams couldn’t against Resurrection Christian in 2020 – put points on the board.
The loss to Resurrection Christian is something that Coach Scranton thinks would’ve been preventable had those eight players been available to Moffat County.
“Without a doubt,” Scranton said. “I think it would’ve made a huge difference…I really wish we would have had our entire team when we went to play Rez Christian, but we didn’t; that’s the way it goes.
““We can only control the things that we have control over,” Scranton added. “We can only do things about the things we have control over, we didn’t have control over that so we didn’t make excuses, we just went out and played. I was proud of the kids for that.”
The loss was no doubt frustrating, especially when considering the uphill battle the Bulldogs had to face prior to kickoff. However, Teeter says the underclassmen can take quite a bit from a unique, challenging 2020 season in preparation for next year.
“I’ll definitely be more grateful with me being a junior this year and I’ll appreciate next season even more because I know it can be stripped away just like that,” Teeter said. “It forces me to work harder to just because I never know.”
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