Moffat County football soaks Steamboat rivals with 2nd consecutive shutout
For the Craig Press
The wind wasn’t blowing in a friendly direction for the Sailors as they stepped foot onto the Bulldog Proving Grounds Friday night.
And, no, that’s not just a metaphor.
Moffat County High School varsity football saw its second monster win in as many weeks with a 50-0 rout of the team’s Highway 40 rivals, the Steamboat Springs Sailors.
While MCHS has handily defeated Steamboat on the gridiron in a streak going back to 2015 — excluding the 2020-21 school year in which the Bulldogs competed in Season A and the Sailors the temporary Season C — the boys in blue were as shocked as anyone by the magnitude of the W.
The coin toss helped to set the tone, as the Sailors were set going into a strong wind in the first quarter. Dual three-and-out situations deep in their own territory didn’t help matters, but the killer was punting into a gusty climate.
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MCHS capitalized early and often; senior Ryan Peck scored the opening touchdown on a goal line quarterback sneak, while junior Evan Atkin rammed it into the end zone on a two-yard draw play the next opportunity.
The Sailors deflected Peck’s extra point after the first TD, but he ran in the two-point conversion on the subsequent score to build a 14-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.
Just as the Steamboat offense got some momentum with a strong kickoff return, an interception by MoCo junior Cort Murphy got the Sailors right back on defense.
“It felt great getting that pick and even better getting yards after it,” Murphy said. “My main thing going through my mind was just to catch it because I didn’t want to muff it.”
On the next go-around, Atkin fumbled and the Sailors recovered the ball at their 4-yard line only to need to boot it into the wind again. Moments later, Atkin stretched his way to another touchdown three yards out, while Peck successfully split the uprights to make it 21-0.
Another ground-and-pound game saw Atkin well into triple digits for rushing yardage by the end of the evening.
“It was really good blocking from our line and our receivers,” Atkin said.
The wind died down in the second period, and though a fourth down pass attempt fell apart for the Dogs, Peck was able to score on the other side of the ball immediately after Steamboat regained possession. A bad snap for the Sailors sent QB Jake Hamric frantically after the pigskin, only to be slammed into the end zone by Peck for the safety and two more points.
After Atkin earned another six points on a 3-yard sweep on the ensuing possession afforded the Bulldogs by the safety — a hasty conversion attempt not working out, making it 29-0 — Steamboat got its initial first down of the game midway through the second quarter. Though they had to punt again, a favorable roll went deep into Bulldog territory.
Sailor Beck Vanderbosch made a highlight play shortly afterward by picking off Peck, the lone occasion of the night when Steamboat crossed the 50-yard line.
It looked like the Sailors were building up a newfound steam as Hamric floated a perfect pass to Cade Gedeon for what seemed to be a 34-yard touchdown. However, the score was negated and a loss of yardage tacked on with a official call of an ineligible man downfield.
From there, it was all downhill for the visiting team, as Alex Musgrave promptly recovered a Steamboat fumble, and moments later fellow Bulldog senior Ethan Hafey was handed a reverse and dove into the end zone.
Hafey noted he was glad to make up for an earlier play that nearly involved a turnover only for a penalty to erase it.
“My first touchdown of the year is definitely great, but that was a whole team effort; I can’t get there unless the whole team is going there with me,” he said.
A 36-0 scoreboard at halftime was encouraging to the home team if not for their foes.
“I wish they would have kept their heart in it,” Ethan said of the Sailors. “We knew a lot of kids from Steamboat, growing up so close.”
Coming out of the break, Steamboat was again beset by multiple penalties, and a scramble for a 10-yard touchdown by Peck and the accompanying PAT got the running clock scenario with a 43-0 lead.
Another Sailor fumble saw Ethan Hafey and Johnny Lopez both go for the loose ball, and with that MCHS coaches started working in more of their bench, including Murphy and sophomore Evan Beaver at quarterback.
“Winning by so much really helps us get in more snaps,” Murphy said.
Sophomore Bryant Carlson scored the final TD of the night on a short run, with Peck earning one more good kick.
A scoreless fourth quarter was nonetheless mostly Bulldog action as they maintained possession for the majority of the game, though a rough play had Steamboat’s Ben Bogan unable to get off the ground without help, leading the Dogs to some reflection.
“None of us want to see that, that can be any of us any given day,” Ethan Hafey said.
Throughout the night but especially late in the game, the MCHS student section loud and proud in a cheering match with Steamboat students, as well as a friendly game of Capture the Flag going on between the two groups.
“The energy was great all-around. Our special teams really helped us, and we just kept it going from there,” senior Logan Hafey said.
MCHS is now 2-0 on the record as well as 92-0 in total points as they look to carry on the MoCo mojo into Homecoming week against the visiting Outlaws of Rawlins, Wyoming, on Sept. 10.
For MCHS head coach Lance Scranton, the night could be summarized in six words: “Great team effort, great team win.”
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