Moffat County football rocks Roaring Fork to open league schedule
Moffat County High School cheerleader Bella Green couldn’t help but shed a few tears at halftime of Friday night’s football game.
But, rather than crying over a scoreboard that was drastically lop-sided — more on that later — they were tears of pride.
Spirits were high for many reasons as MCHS began its 2A Western Slope League play, partly because of the 61-6 blowout the Bulldogs earned against their Roaring Fork opponents, partly because of the Military Appreciation Night festivities.
The local Color Guard comprised of area veterans started out the evening hoisting the American flag in the crisp autumn air, while several more vets joined the team captains at midfield for the coin toss.
Maybe it was the prospect of wanting to go all out for their honored guests, maybe it was just a need to win and win big after a couple losses, but the Bulldogs got in gear immediately as Alex Nevarez swiftly returned the opening kickoff to the Rams’ 42-yard line for a drive that would take less than 90 seconds of game time to score.
Cale Scranton had the first Moffat County touchdown on a 23-yard catch from Colby Beaver, and the Dogs were right back on offense as Spencer Brown picked off Roaring Fork quarterback Alex Jacques on his first throw of the night to put Moffat County at the Rams’ 26.
Another pass to Scranton in the end zone from 20 yards out made it 14-0 a minute later, and his hands were not done yet as he grabbed another interception at the 35.
The rushing game opened up as Nevarez and Dominic Pascetti went to work, Pascetti literally bending over backward while fighting through a tackle to almost put the ball over the goal line, with Josh Teeter running it in on the following play.
Pascetti would do the same goal line push for the Dogs’ fourth TD, following a diving 32-yard catch by Miki Klimper that was just short of a score late in the first quarter.
Brown earned another interception at midfield as Moffat County continued its dominance in the second period, and Nevarez and Teeter kept grinding against the Rams’ defense, the latter scoring on an 11-yard rush.
It was another score from 11 yards out by Marcus Delgado that invoked the mercy rule as Roaring Fork was down 42-0 with the clock running, but the home team still had one more score left in them in the shortened timeframe as Greg Hixson gained a pick-six from 28 to make it 49-0 at the intermission.
A wildly excited crowd turned its attention to a halftime acknowledgement of local vets to serve during wartime, among them James Terry, who saw action during World War II.
“I was in it for the last two years,” he said.
Terry said he was pleased to be part of the ceremony and to see the amount of enthusiasm from the Bulldogs.
Among her fellow spirit squad members, Green got significantly choked up as she watched the vets take their positions.
“I have a lot of relatives in the military, and I got emotional,” she said. “I am very proud of tonight and our country, and I think honoring them like that was great.”
As both teams returned from the locker rooms, the Rams fielded the opening kick, taking a touchback, but starting at the 20 didn’t help much as Colby Beckett sent Jacques to the grass on the opening play for a loss of 10 in his second sack of the night.
After Roaring Fork punted, Moffat County had fits and starts as second-stringers worked their way into the mix, but they found their way to the end zone soon as Beaver gained his first rushing TD of the season on a QB sneak from two yards.
Though Axeel Mendoza missed the following extra point after being on target for the first seven PATs, the Dogs weren’t out of energy yet, Jefferson Piatt securing a Rams fumble forced by Connor Murphy at the Roaring Fork 34 to start the fourth quarter.
Head coach Keith Gille sent in Blake Juergens to fill in for Beaver in the pocket, though Moffat County’s first drive of the night to not end in a score as Roaring Fork took over on downs was quickly forgotten as Dario Alexander snagged the fifth interception of the night and ran it all the way back from 41.
The Rams blocked Mendoza’s following kick, but the visiting team was past the point of no return in allowing 61 points — Moffat County’s highest score in a varsity game since a 2004 60-6 rout of Eagle Valley — their biggest deficit yet in a winless season that had yet to see scoring from TDs, field goals or safeties.
The key word being “had.”
Roaring Fork — dealing with a minuscule roster and coaching transition this year — found its moment of glory late in the game as Jasper Germain stunned Bulldog defenders with a counter run starting at the 20-yard line to take it 80 yards for the Rams’ sole score of the season to date.
The Moffat County sideline was more than a little miffed, and Delgado responded with an interception on the following two-point conversion and charged ahead with little coverage before the whistles blew to remind him defensive extra points aren’t allowed at the high school level.
Nevarez rushed for 77 yards and Pascetti 51 on five carries each, Teeter 18. Joe Campagna notched nine yards on two rushes, while Delgado, Piatt, Murphy and Beaver each had one carry, and Beaver was three for four for 75 passing yards.
On the other side of the ball, Beckett and Jared Baker each had six tackles, Beckett’s two sacks amounting to 21 yards lost.
Though it wasn’t the shutout they wanted, the Dogs were more than happy with the win that improves them to 2-3 and 1-0 in 2A WSL.
“I feel like it’s a good momentum change for league,” Teeter said. “We did really good defensively stopping the run and all those interceptions.”
The Rams next host Steamboat Springs, who opened conference play over the weekend with a blistering 48-0 loss to Basalt. MCHS next plays Coal Ridge for the Oct. 6 Homecoming game, and the Titans will be seeking their first win in the WSL after a 34-28 loss to Aspen.
While not worrying too much about the future, Gille said he already has an inkling of what will come from the New Castle team.
“Coal Ridge is Jacx Power left, Jacx Power right, Jacx Power up the middle, plus they’ve got a sneaky little quarterback we’ve got to keep our eyes on,” he said of the approaching game.
As for the victory over the Rams, Gille noted that it was a relief to not only start off conference play with such a statement but also gain a sizable win in the team’s first game at home since August.
Plus, working in nearly the entire roster was a benefit.
“We played everybody except, I think, maybe one or two kids tonight. Just glad to be healthy and fresh,” he said.