Moffat County football rocks Rawlins for high-energy Homecoming
For the Craig Press
Maybe it was the special occasion at stake, or maybe it was the ongoing desire to prove themselves, but Moffat County High School football had something extra in store Friday night.
MCHS moved to 3-0 with a rollicking 42-7 win over the Outlaws of Rawlins, Wyoming to cap off Homecoming week with a night that was special for athletes, coaches and fans alike, but with deeper significance for some upperclassmen on the field.
None of the current Bulldog roster had faced off against the team to the north, but when last Rawlins came to Craig in 2017, they claimed a 46-14 victory, and some overdue MoCo revenge was coming.
That came swiftly; following the delivery of the game ball by Classic Air Medical helicopter, the Bulldogs received the opening kick and three plays into the game, junior Evan Atkin bolted from midfield all the way to the end zone. A trick pass on the two-point conversion also saw Atkin deliver it oddly but successfully to the hands of senior Logan Hafey.
Rawlins was forced to punt from deep in their own territory on their first drive, but the Outlaws caught a break with a pick by Eli Kern. The Bulldog defense was not amused forced another boot, a sack by senior Ethan Hafey among the plays to push Rawlins right back.
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A bad bounce on another pass by senior quarterback Ryan Peck gave the Outlaws another shot with an interception by Canyon Greene. Another three-and-out by Rawlins led to another punt, and once set up again on offense, another rush for half the field by Atkin, accompanied by a good kick by Peck, made it 15-0.
Shortly afterward, Atkin scored his third and final touchdown of the night on a 10-yard catch as the Dogs made it 22-0 with one minute remaining in the first quarter. To add to the Outlaws’ misfortunes, a fumble recovered by Ethan Hafey ended the period with another MoCo possession.
Hafey, Taran Teeter, and Atkin kept grinding to start the second quarter, but once in the red zone it was senior Trace Frederickson who ended the drive on a short draw play for the TD.
The game was the first of the season for Frederickson, one which he was eagerly awaiting.
“It’s a crazy feeling to come back and get my first varsity touchdown like that,” Frederickson said.
Every good move Rawlins made was coupled with a drawback, with a big pass getting them in Bulldog territory before a disastrous snap sent them back 15 yards. Atkin and sophomore Ian Hafey got the sack to force another boot and a deflection on the punt made it all the worse.
With the wind blowing against them, MCHS offense was stalled, but as soon as they were back on the other side, Teeter closed the first half with dual sacks.
Teeter noted that he was very focused on defense after he ran in a touchdown in the first quarter that was negated by a holding call.
“I was frustrated to say the least. My teammates can attest to that,” Teeter laughed. “It definitely got in my head, but I cleared my mind and it was all good after that.”
Moving on quickly from the 28-0 halftime advantage, Peck tried an onside kick to begin the third quarter and recovered it himself. A solid march downfield ended with him sneaking in another TD.
It was a five-yard draw by Teeter that got the home team to 42-0 and another running clock midway through the third period.
“It’s amazing to finally get my first varsity score after 10 years of waiting for it,” Teeter said.
From there, it was a matter of whether or not it would be another shutout for the Dogs, and despite a big Rawlins kick return after Teeter’s score, junior Cort Murphy gained his second interception in as many weeks, a turnover that might have been a pick-six if not blocking calls against the Bulldogs.
Murphy also went under center to give Peck a break, but a backfield fumble let the Outlaws swipe the ball back as the fourth quarter loomed.
Rawlins’ persistence in the passing game put them in the red zone as MCHS fans hoped for a goal line stand, but a throw in the end zone finally got the visitors on the scoreboard.
Still, their hopes of doubling down from there were dashed as MoCo’s Izzac Pierce recovered the onside kick, and the rest of the boys in blue ran out the clock.
A jubilant Bulldog sideline doused head coach Lance Scranton with the remains of the cooler before heading to the stands to regale the crowd with the school song.
“We just wanted to make it was a fun experience,” Teeter said. “We ran trick plays, gave coach a Gatorade bath, just as fun as possible.”
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. to include a response from the Bureau of Land Management’s national office.