Craig Middle School football smashes Rock Springs | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School football smashes Rock Springs

Bulldogs eye Steamboat rematch following wins in final home games

Ask any individual Craig Middle School football player who they think is the best Bulldog among them, and they'll invariably point to another guy on the field to sing his praises above their own.

As eighth-grader Blake Juergens puts it, "all our wins are a team effort."

The scoreboard looked very familiar for certain members of the CMS gridiron Tuesday evening and pleasingly different for the other half. In their last games at the Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds and last home games altogether, both seventh- and eighth-graders took wins against Rock Springs, Wyoming.

The seventh-grade team achieved its third straight 6-0 victory, riding a first half touchdown by Dylan Zimmerman into the third and fourth quarters where the Jaguars had difficulty making much happen on offense — compounded by turnovers achieved on fumble recoveries by Norman Cruz and Michael Voloshin — as the Bulldog defense went to work to shut down every opportunity.

Though the 3-3 squad has yet to claim a win by more than one trip to the end zone, the trio of shutouts — including Steamboat Springs and East Grand — show they're doing it right, said coach Ben Egger.

Egger added that a comment from Rock Springs about CMS players' stature showed what happens when Goliath taunts David too much.

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"They were calling us small, so we took a grudge against that and started hitting real hard," he said, noting that "stellar" defense has been the key.

Myles Simpson agreed he and his teammates have been able to deny everyone any points.

"Our team's been doing really good, and we want to keep the streak going," he said.

When last they took the high school field a week, eighth-graders got hit hard by the Sailors, but any thoughts of doom and gloom were far from their minds, fresh off a Saturday win of 36-14 against East Grand and ready for another.

The Bulldogs could do no wrong in the first quarter, as Donnie Quick found a gap and pounded through it for a 56-yard touchdown run right away, while the period closed with a pass from Corey Scranton to Brendan Beaver for 40 yards and a TD, with Scranton running in the two for good measure.

Offense barely had time to breathe before Quick recovered a loose ball and then scored once again on his own 12-yard pass from Scranton in the second quarter, with Victor Greer getting the conversion.

While the Jaguars did their best to stay alive, Joe Neal was able to float a pass for about 30 to Beaver for another score, Quick getting the two points.

Beaver nabbed an interception just as the Jags began to look on the mend, though the Dogs couldn't score again, having to settle for a 30-0 halftime total.

The third quarter was no less on CMS's side, starting with a blocked punt by Coltyn Terry that led the way for Chris Sanderson to score from nine for the 36-0 final tally.

Rock Springs stayed stalwart as the Bulldog bench cycled through players, and the threat of eliminating the goose egg always loomed, including late in the game as the Jags neared the red zone. Quick quickly ended that possibility with a perfectly timed interception that almost became a pick-six to finish the night.

However, despite his great game, Quick said it was a tackle by Logan Montgomery right before his turnover that really ensured the shutout. Quick also said the unsung players who rarely touch the ball are always crucial.

"We can't do it without the linemen, that's the heart and soul of the team," he said.

Now 2-4, the season is changing drastically for eighth-grade, said coach Tony Maneotis. Game film by Moffat County Proud has been invaluable in showing how and where to improve and players have taken it to heart.

The test — this Saturday's rematch in Steamboat, who dealt the Dogs a 44-0 blowout just last week.

"We're gonna turn that score around," Maneotis said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.