Moffat County football falls, 42-14, to rival Steamboat Springs |

Moffat County football falls, 42-14, to rival Steamboat Springs

Ben Bulkeley
Moffat County High School senior Jasen Kettle gets smothered by a tough Sailor defense Friday night in Steamboat. The Bulldogs put up 14 points to Steamboat's 42.
Shawn McHugh

— Playing against his rivals for possibly the last time, Moffat County High School senior Todd Stewart admitted he was trying harder than usual.

The high-octane linebacker was impressive as one of the Bulldogs’ main weapons on defense, but Steamboat Springs High School defeated Moffat County varsity football, 42-14, on Friday.

“I was just going my hardest,” Stewart said. “This is the last time I’ll play Steamboat if we don’t meet them in the playoffs. I wanted to win tonight.”

Sailors quarterback Austin Hinder was as good as advertised in throwing one touchdown and rushing for another.

If it was the last time Hinder would face the Bulldogs, they left him a few souvenirs.

“They were laying down some hits,” said Kip Hafey, Moffat County head defense coach. “We got some sacks, and we were able to put pressure on a quarterback that no team this year has been able to.”

The person mainly responsible for getting in Hinder’s personal space was Stewart.

“I wanted to get in his head – I wanted him to know that we were here because I knew they were overlooking us,” Stewart said. “I wanted them to know we were here to play.”

For most of the second half, Stewart broke through the Sailors line where he harassed the Steamboat play-caller.

“I wanted to get pressure on him and make him throw the ball quicker,” Stewart said. “That takes the edge off our defensive backs.”

Steamboat Springs received the opening kickoff, but Moffat County didn’t let the Sailors get very far.

Brian Ivy sacked Hinder, and the Sailors turned the ball over on downs.

On Moffat County’s ensuing possession, the Bulldogs showcased some new tricks, with quarterback Matt Linsacum throwing from the shotgun formation.

Linsacum threw a pass to Pablo Salcido, who ran it in 44 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

After the first quarter, Steamboat Springs exploded.

Mixing pass plays with power running from Joe Dover, the Sailors put up 28 points in the second quarter.

Even trailing 28-7 at halftime, the Bulldogs refused to roll over.

“We just dug down deep,” Stewart said. “Everyone stepped up – we knew what we had to do. We just had to play like we know how we can play.”

Both teams scored only one touchdown in the second half, as Moffat County’s defense refused to be bullied.

“We just had that one rough quarter, and you can’t do that against the No. 1 team in the state,” Hafey said. “Our kids played hard – three quarters of a tied ballgame – and I’m really proud of them.”

Hafey said his halftime speech focused more on the team’s positives.

“We talked about the first quarter. We said ‘Look at what we’re capable of doing,'” he said. “I told them that’s what they needed to do in the second half, and they did.”

Both sides of the ball were better in the second half, Hafey said.

“Our offense did a good job,” Hafey said. “They were able to mix it up a lot and able to do some things we haven’t done before.”

Moffat County had two turnovers, which stunted more chances to get deeper into Sailors territory.

“Both times we had good drives going,” Hafey said. “We turned the ball over twice, and you can’t do that against a team like that.”

Moffat County found success in the fourth quarter by running the ball.

Jasen Kettle dashed 37 yards with 1:20 left in the game to cut the score to 42-14.

The Bulldogs have another big game Friday when Glenwood Springs High School comes to Craig.

“It’s a huge game – it could have playoff implications,” Hafey said. “If we can have a good game against Glenwood, it gives us a shot at the playoffs.”

Stewart said his team would be in good shape so long as it cuts down on mental mistakes.

“It’s almost like we’re our own worst enemies – with the turnovers – and they break our tackles or we miss tackles,” he said. “We just need to play our game.”

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