Craig Middle School starts season on same field as big dogs | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Middle School starts season on same field as big dogs

Football teams each take 16-0 losses to Eagle Valley

Craig Middle School seventh-grader Ryan Duzik makes a break for it on fourth down during the Bulldogs' first game Tuesday against Eagle Valley at the Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds. In their first games of the season, seventh- and eighth-grade CMS teams fell, 16-0, to the Pirates.

The start of the season was a tough one for Craig Middle SchoolCraig Middle School football teams, but it will only motivate them to get stronger. football teams, but it will only motivate them to get stronger.

Craig Middle School football teams, but it will only motivate them to get stronger.

CMS took to the Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds Tuesday afternoon to christen a new schedule, beginning with unfamiliar foe Eagle Valley.

The Pirates' seventh-graders took to the gridiron first against CMS and found the end zone early, about four minutes into the opening period, a consistent drive putting them two yards from the goal line and easily scoring one play later, also picking up two points.

CMS offense kept at it, but couldn't get the same momentum, Eagle Valley picking up a second touchdown after one of their running backs slipped through the line, broke loose and kept going for 82 yards to turn the score into 16-0.

The Bulldogs shut down the Pirates' chance of scoring again in the second half but had little luck putting their own points on the board.

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Ryan Peck played both quarterback and linebacker for the Dogs but was limping slightly after the final whistle.

"I got a helmet to the ankle, but I'm OK," he said.

Peck said the high school turf was "an experience," noting that the game came down to some minimal elements.

"Two plays, that's the only reason we lost," he said. "If we had blocked on the outside like we should have, it would have been a much different ball game."

The eighth-graders took the field next ready to settle the score with the Pirates, both teams blanking each other in the first quarter.

However, Eagle Valley found their rhythm in the ensuing minutes, scoring early in the second quarter and then again right at the halftime buzzer.

The 16-0 on the board stood for the remainder of the game, and though the older set of CMS athletes came tantalizingly close to a touchdown in the second half, it was not to be.

Still, the experience for the players was a valuable one as far as the coaches see it.

"We haven't played them at all, since I've been here," eighth-grade coach Tony Maneotis said. "We weren't sure what they were gonna run, or what they were gonna perform like, so it was great to see a new team and see some different things."

Blocking and decreasing fumbles will be key, Maneotis said, as well as performing under pressure even on the MCHS field.

"We're gonna be having a lot more games up here, so that's something they need to step up to," he said, adding that he didn't feel anxiety was too much of a factor.

CMS teams will host Rawlins, Wyoming, Saturday morning at the middle school field, and coaches expect pigskin players will be prepared for what the weekend brings.

"We know what we're up against, it was a close game with them last year, and if we pick up on our weaknesses from tonight, control the ball, I think we'll come out with a W," 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.