Moffat County football seeks momentum with rivalry win over Steamboat
It’s not a matchup that means much for either team in terms of conference play, but the yearly meeting of Moffat County High School and Steamboat Springs football squads promises as many thrills as ever this weekend.
The rivalry continues between the Northwest Colorado schools, beginning anew at 7 p.m. Friday as the Bulldogs and Sailors hit the gridiron in Steamboat.
MoCo players are looking to keep the streak alive against their opponents. The Dogs have won four straight in recent years, with the Sailors’ last victory over them a 28-14 final in 2014.
However, the blue bunch kept it too close for comfort when they last saw each other, eking out a 21-14 W last fall.
And, the circumstances are almost exactly the same this time, with the Dogs coming off a massive 41-8 road triumph against Summit, the same margin they had against the Tigers in 2018, 40-7.
The Sailors are in a similar spot, as well. The Steamboat team took a 33-26 win over Manual to start the year before losing 21-13 last week to Cedaredge, comparable to the 1-1 results they had against the same foes heading into Week 3 last season.
Though the Sailors have an extra week of competition to their advantage, the statistics are pretty even.
Steamboat has recorded 285 rushing yards in the past two weeks, whereas Moffat County had 302 on the ground against Summit, 170 of which was by running back Kevin Hernandez, who scored three touchdowns in the blowout. Finn Russell likewise dominates the carrying numbers with 209 yards on 33 attempts, also having scored three TD’s for the Sailors so far.
The Bulldogs refrained from too much of an air attack during a rainy evening in Breckenridge, with quarterback Ryan Peck throwing for 65 yards against Summit.
Conversely, Cade Gedeon has thrown for 203 yards on 10 completions as Steamboat’s starter in the pocket, including three touchdown catches.
Across two games, the Sailors already have lost the ball far more than they’d like. Subbing in at QB against Cedaredge, Tanner Raper was stung by three interceptions. Steamboat has also fumbled on three occasions already, losing all of them.
The Dogs don’t quite have a pristine record in that regard, though their first game saw less TO’s go against them. Apart from one pickoff of Peck and one lost fumble, the Dogs earned two interceptions, one by Carson Miller and another by Dagan White that he took all the way to the Tiger end zone.
MoCo also forced extra punts back their way when Ethan Hafey and Donnie Quick each earned a safety.
The one-score game from 2018 was a win that MoCo coach Jamie Nelson was happy to get, though he’s emphasized to athletes he doesn’t want to see it as close this time, with last year serving as a lesson about the danger of complacency following an explosive opening game.
“We learned from that last year, where we can’t allow that to happen,” he said. “We also have a younger group this year, so hopefully that creates excitement and potentially confidence, since now they have something to build off.”
While the early season is still a time for players and coaches to realize where their strengths are, there’s only so much time before things need to start clicking.
“We really want to establish a presence in our conference and in our area,” Nelson said. “The big thing is that your biggest improvements need to come between Week 1 and Week 2. I hope our performance improves a lot more in that aspect where we can go out and execute at a higher level so the remainder of the season we can work more on the finer points of the game plan.”