Moffat County football duels in Delta
After a do-or-die round of Friday night lights at home last week, Moffat County High School football players knew they’d have to bump up their game all the more for the final two weeks on the road.
Unfortunately, the first of the two teams standing in the way of the Bulldogs and the 2A playoffs wasn’t about to slow down their own descent into the postseason.
MCHS took a 52-0 defeat Thursday night to the Delta Panthers to send the Dogs to a 5-3 record for the year.
Delta’s Senior Night may have provided an extra motivation, as did the prospect of defending their home turf, but the now 7-1 team only needed to play at the level they’ve been working all season.
The Panthers scored immediately, with the first play of the night a touchdown. And, though the MoCo defense held tight for much of the first quarter to stop Delta’s fourth down efforts, the second period was nothing short of a massacre for the home team, finding the end zone five times more to make it 42-0 at halftime completely with a mercy rule running clock.
A 30-yard field goal early in the third quarter and a TD scored by the Panthers’ second-stringers late in the game pushed the score well beyond the Dogs’ potential for a comeback in the roughest night to date for the blue and white.
Head coach Jamie Nelson didn’t mince words about the match.
“Horrible night for us,” he said. “They played really fast, they were physical, and we came out kind of hesitant the first couple series. Offensively, we couldn’t get anything going so our defense was out on the field too much. We played hard, but we didn’t play hard enough to compete with a team like that.”
Delta’s defense made it an unhappy night in the pocket for quarterback Ryan Peck, who was four for 21 for 16 passing yards, with the Panthers picking him off on five occasions.
Joe Campagna gained the longest catch of the night on an 11-yard reception off a screen pass.
With Kevin Hernandez off the field, Campagna filled in as the Dogs’ top rusher, with 51 yards on 10 carries — including a 35-yard dash that nearly cleared the Delta secondary — as well as four on the ground by Peck and small runs by Donnie Quick and Evan Atkin to amount to 57 yards total.
Despite being run roughshod by Delta for the majority of the night, MoCo players still gained three sacks, courtesy of Campagna, Daniel Cruz and Logan Hafey, with Taran Teeter leading in total tackles with 10.
Losing only to Rifle this fall, Delta looks to finish second in the 2A Western Slope League rankings at 3-1 in conference play, awaiting the results Friday as the 7-0 Bears battle it out to clinch the league championship against 6-1 Basalt.
Friday will also confirm if 1-7 Coal Ridge finishes in last place as the Titans face the Aspen Skiers, currently fourth place at 3-4.
The coming weekend will determine where the Bulldogs stand for playoff possibilities, as the RPI standings shift around for 2A.
Though it’s still uncertain if it’s their last game of the fall, Moffat County will travel Nov. 1 to Rifle to round out their regular schedule.