Moffat County football cruises to 7-0 with home victory over Aspen |

Moffat County football cruises to 7-0 with home victory over Aspen

Andy Bockelman
For the Craig Press
Evan Atkin, center, scores for the first of many Bulldog touchdowns as Moffat County football routed Aspen at home Friday.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

In another setting, Skiers thrive in cold weather.

Not so much Friday evening at the Bulldog Proving Grounds.

Moffat County High School football took its seventh straight victory after three weeks on the road with a 62-35 win against Aspen back on their home field.

Coming in 2-4, the Skiers’ hard luck continued after a 56-0 loss to Delta a week after they came out strong in 2A West League play against Rifle with a 34-19 W.

The Bulldogs handed the Bears an even more devastating defeat last week with a 46-13 scoreboard — MoCo’s first time winning over Rifle since 2010 — and turned their attention to their next victim, looking to improve to 3-0 in the conference.

The Moffat County hot streak was hardly dampened by the chilly climate with the temperature in the low 30s at kickoff and dropping — though still almost balmy for October in Craig — as the Dogs scored immediately.

On the first play after a touchback on the opening kick, quarterback Ryan Peck pitched the ball to running back Evan Atkin, who floated it to wide receiver Carson Miller, who went untouched the rest of the 80 yards downfield.

The Moffat County football special teams makes a tackle on an Aspen kick return late in the Bulldogs' rout of the Skiers Friday night in Craig.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

“You can’t complain about that,” Peck said. “They dialed that up before the game, and told us, ‘hey, we’re gonna try this play and see if it works.’ Great throw by Evan, great catch-and-run by Carson. I’m proud of them.”

Aspen started deep in their own territory for their first drive and gained no yardage, forcing a punt, which was blocked by Peck and Myles Simpson. The prime spot for the Bulldog offense to get going again was at the Skiers’ 2-yard line, and Atkin shoved his way through the Aspen line to get another touchdown. Another good extra point by Peck made it 14-0 with barely a minute off the clock.

Following a red zone shutdown by the Bulldog defense, Atkin again weaved his way through traffic for a second TD, this time from about 30 yards out, for the 21-0 advantage late in the first quarter.

By the time the second quarter started, MCHS was already looking to score again, and Peck targeted fellow senior Logan Hafey for an 11-yard reception touchdown, the first varsity 6-pointer for him.

“Those passes, that’s my favorite route personally, and they bit on our bait so I was wide open,” Logan said.

The Skiers caught a break on a 25-yard catch resulting in a TD that Bulldog coaches argued was out of bounds, but a big rush by Ethan Hafey got them in scoring position again. A MoCo fumble was recovered by Aspen at their own 10-yard line, but three consecutive incompletions brought their punter out again, while a high snap sent it out the wrong side of the end zone for a safety.

After the punt, MCHS went up to 36-7 with a 30-yard catch and run by Logan Hafey.

Aspen threatened to score again before halftime, but a touchdown catch was deemed offensive pass interference, pushing them back before one of many big Bulldog sacks for the night pushed them all the more, making it 4th and goal with 32 to go.

An unsuccessful Skier pass with :02 showing on the scoreboard kept the MoCo lead at 29.

Aspen came out of the locker room shaky, and Atkin took advantage of that with a midfield interception that he ran back to the Skiers’ 25. Seconds later, he ran it in again from there.

“It’s always nice to get touchdowns, but I gotta thank the guys up front,” Atkin said, crediting his offensive line. “It’s nice to have dry grass again, so I can get my moves going.”

The hopes of another running clock game faded from there, as the Aspen passing game started clicking, with back-to-back throws that ended in the end zone to make it 43-21 though Atkin answered back with a 30-yard rushing TD late in the third quarter.

“That second half, they just started completing their passes, and we started letting up, so we just need to keep pushing,” Logan Hafey said. “That’s good practice for us against a pass-heavy team, we haven’t really had that yet.”

The fourth period started off with a monster tag-team sack by Peck and Ian Hafey to turn the ball over, followed by Bulldog Trace Frederickson breaking through the Aspen line for a 30-yard score.

Another big Skier pass TD made the total 55-29, while an attempt at an onside kick saw Ethan Hafey get under the ball and ram it back in Aspen’s face.

“I almost thought about fair-catching it, but it was so far into the game that I turned around and knew it was time to go. I was pretty lucky on that one,” Ethan said. “Our offense tonight was immaculate, but I think we had some downfalls on defense,”

Ethan completed the run of the field with a 20-yard counter play for the last Bulldog TD of the night, while Peck nailed his sixth successful PAT for their final point.

A screen pass by Aspen resulted in several missed tackles by the MoCo defense, and though Peck nearly recovered a fumble near the goal line, he took a hard jolt on a recovery that ultimately gave Aspen their last score.

“They didn’t blow the whistle and the ball was out, so I have to jump on it,” Peck said.

The win was Moffat County’s highest score of the season and their first time cracking 60 points since a 2017 slaughter of Roaring Fork that ended 61-6.

With their current record, playoff qualification is all but a certainty for MCHS, but their final two weeks in the regular season will determine where they land in the brackets.

A return to the road in the coming week will likely be the Bulldogs’ most challenging match this fall, against the only team in the 2A West who has remained undefeated in the league, the Delta Panthers.

Delta took a 42-14 win Friday night hosting the Basalt Longhorns, and now the Dogs and the Panthers look to square off for the game that will effectively give the league title to one of the two teams.

“They’re a legit team that we have be ready for if we want this conference championship,” Peck said.

It will be a rematch of their 2020 meet-up, in which the Bulldogs defeated the Panthers 27-20 for the honor of Best in the West.

Despite Moffat County boasting a better overall record, 6-1 Delta will be no easy foe. Many Bulldogs noted that the game with the Skiers was what they needed to get prepared.

“That was really good pregame for us for Delta, so they can see what we can do,” said junior Caleb Squires. “It was definitely harder for us in the second half, but if we can put 62 up on the board that’s really good.”

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