Moffat County athletes go above and beyond | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County athletes go above and beyond

Bulldog soccer, football players qualify for specialty games thanks to strong performances

Moffat County High School's Eddie Smercina cuts through a gap during the Bulldogs' season opener in Rawlins, Wyoming. Smercina was selected for the Blue-Grey American Bowl in January, while teammate Keenan Hildebrandt was named Moffat County's representative at the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State game next summer.

Dozens of Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School athletes finished the fall sports schedule with a varsity letter, and some of the Bulldogs went even further in their achievement. athletes finished the fall sports schedule with a varsity letter, and some of the Bulldogs went even further in their achievement.

Moffat County High School athletes finished the fall sports schedule with a varsity letter, and some of the Bulldogs went even further in their achievement.

Moffat County athletes in multiple sports received acknowledgement for a strong season, with each of the fall sports teams that are part of Colorado High School Activities Association represented.

Though each of their teams struggled this season, golfer Mike Bingham took an All-Conference Honorable Mention, while Mattie Jo Duzik was All-Conference First Team for Lady Bulldog volleyball.

A 7-8 season kept the boys soccer squad from advancing to the postseason, though the Dogs had two All-Conference selections: Ulises Silva on First Team and Marco Hernandez Second Team.

Co-coach Erica Tripp said the pair of seniors will be eligible for the 3A/4A Western Slope Emily Johnson Memorial All-Conference Game in June 2017.

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"Both competed in the game last year, and this will be Ulises' third year playing," she said, adding that Silva has earned All-Conference three years straight.

The runners of cross country were the lone fall team to attend a state event this fall, and Western Slope coaches took notice, as Riley Allen and Hayden's Makenna Knez were All-Conference First Team, with Honorable Mention going to Madysen Cramer, Liberty Hippely, Connor Scranton, Carter Severson and Hayden's Chris Carrouth.

Allen also was named a 3A CHSAA All-State Honorable Mention.

A three-peat league championship and playoff berth didn't come together for Bulldog football this fall, but the 5-4 team still cleaned up in season recognition with All-Conference honors for Keenan Hildebrandt, Kaden Hafey, Ryan Zimmerman, Miki Klimper, Dominic Pascetti, Colby Beckett, Zane Shipman, John T Peroulis, Cale Scranton, Eddie Smercina and Jared Baker.

Head coach Keith Gille added that Chace Marshall, Isaac Montoya, Toryn Hume and Frankie Masterson were on the short list as coaches in the 2A Western Slope League made their selections, but Moffat County had fewer options than previous years due to relinquishing the conference crown to Basalt.

Though the year ended sooner than hoped, a pair of Bulldog seniors haven't seen their last high school football game.

An ankle injury sidelined Smercina for three league games this fall, meaning he wasn't eligible for All-Conference First Team. However, the upperclassman recently received news that his results over the summer in the Blue-Grey FootballBlue-Grey Football Super Regional Combine qualified him for the organization’s All-American Bowl hosted Jan. 21 at the Raiders’ Oakland Coliseum. Super Regional Combine qualified him for the organization's All-American Bowl hosted Jan. 21 at the Raiders' Oakland Coliseum.

Blue-Grey Football Super Regional Combine qualified him for the organization's All-American Bowl hosted Jan. 21 at the Raiders' Oakland Coliseum.

Smercina was designated a Red Zone Prospect, one of the top competitors among running backs.

Hildebrandt likewise fought through injury during the season as the Dogs' starting quarterback and will be the third consecutive Moffat County football player to represent the silver helmet at the summer All-State game at Alamosa's Adams State University, hosted by Colorado High School Coaches AssociationColorado High School Coaches Association..

Colorado High School Coaches Association.

Gille commended the two seniors for their years of athletic excellence, as well as the many players on the team who have given their all this season and will continue with the program.

"The job of evaluating and improving our program to return to the state playoffs is already underway with strength, team camaraderie and football knowledge ongoing to put a more powerful, football-intelligent and unified, cohesive team with a balanced attack and stubborn defense on the gridiron in 2017," he 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.