Honor, duty: Moffat County football to kick off league play with military salute
Moffat County High School football has been through its share of battles in the past month, but their focus this week will be honoring the people whose fight has the highest stakes possible.
The MCHS Bulldog Proving Grounds will be the site of Military Appreciation Night Friday as part of the blue and white’s 2A Western Slope League opener against Roaring Fork.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. as the 1-3 Bulldogs look to improve on their record with a win over the Rams, whose start to the season has been meager at 0-4, all of which have been blowout losses.
By the numbers
When last the two teams faced off, Moffat County barely took the victory at 36-33 in Carbondale, and Roaring Fork eventually finished in third place behind the No. 2 Bulldogs in the 2016 conference standings.
The Rams have yet to score this year, allowing 192 points by their four opponents so far.
A second-half special teams lapse resulted in Moffat County’s recent 27-18 loss to Resurrection Christian, but the game nonetheless amounted to strong statistics to finish the non-league schedule.
MCHS lineman Colby Beckett is tied with Basalt’s Raul Torres for the most total tackles in the 2A WSL at 33 each, with Miki Klimper and Josh Teeter right behind their teammate at 32 and 29.
Klimper and Cale Scranton rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in WSL receiving yardage at 144 and 136. Bulldog quarterback Colby Beaver is third in passing at 495 yards, while Alex Nevarez has the fifth most rushing yards, 224.
A salute to those who served
The start to WSL play is a game head coach Keith Gille has been anticipating for weeks, both because it can make or break the team’s playoff chances and because of the ceremony involved.
As part of the Military Appreciation Night festivities, a Color Guard will open the night with a presentation and flying of the American flag.
As part of the remembrance of those in the armed forces past and present, which the coach finds hugely important, Gille also shared with the Craig Press words of thanks from Bulldog players and families:
“We would like to thank all the Veterans and the present service members for their sacrifice and willingness to serve our wonderful nation. Our family truly knows the sacrifices that have been made for us so they we may enjoy the freedoms and rights as American citizens. Specifically our family would like to recognize James B. Hume, Maurice E Wallace, Michael T Wallace, former Clear Creek Sherriff Gene Kiefer, Randy Kiefer, Bill Kiefer, Kenny Marquardt and Brent Malley. Thank you all for your service!”
— Toryn and Trevor Hume and family
“It is because of the military’s sacrifices that I am able to enjoy my freedom, so I would like to say thank you to everybody that has served, is currently serving, and is going to serve in the future. Thank you for the continuous fight for our rights and freedoms as Americans and keeping America safe, and never forgetting the fallen, MIA or wounded. Also, thank you for your sacrifices that you make every single day.”
— Connor and Marie Etzler
“I want to just say thank you for serving and allowing us to play and live in a free country. I will always respect the country and the military.”
— Cale Scranton
“My family has all been through the military starting with my grandpa in WWII, my grandpa in Vietnam, my Uncle Larry in the Navy in Vietnam and my dad in the Persian Gulf War. Now it’s my turn to go in, and I will do my utmost and protect and serve the country I love. God bless the military and the USA.”
— Zane Shipman
“First off I would just like to thank my dad and grandpa for serving for our freedom. My dad, U.S Army Sgt. Mark Byrnes, served for 12 years, his last nine months were in Bosnia with the peacekeeping forces. He was shot at with mortar, a small arms fire. He is now a retired police officer and now works as a maintenance tech at the Craig hospital. I want to end by thanking everyone that served or is currently serving, thank you.”
— Seamus Byrnes
“The military has always held a special place in my heart. My family has dedicated their service to this country and I always honor them when I can. I thank everyone who sacrificed for this country. Thank you so very much!”
— Colby Beckett
“Thank you for your service! Thank you for fighting to protect us even though some people don’t respect the fact that you give your lives to give them freedom and the privilege to be able to play football and other sports.”
— Chris Maneotis
“We would like to thank Dennis Piatt for his service to our country as a staff sergeant in the US Army. Dennis is retired disabled and earned a Purple Heart for his injuries sustained while stationed in Iraq. Dennis has willingly sacrificed his health and time with his family to protect our freedoms in America. His children went months without a father and his wife Casey was a single parent to three babies while he was deployed. Dennis works to support his family while still experiencing pain from his injuries. We are proud of his contributions and admire his willingness to continue to give back to the community through coaching youth wrestling. Dennis is a true American hero to his brother and mom.”
— Jefferson and Valerie Piatt
“To express my thanks to the military and for those in my family who have served in past years there isn’t enough I could say. The military gives us all of our daily freedoms that we take for granted, however the sacrifices they make are all too great for us to forget. It’s nights like our military night that let us be reminded what our military does and that we owe an unsurmountable debt to those serving, going to serve, and those who have served, even losing their lives in the process.”
— Jared Baker
“We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to those in our armed forces. I’m thankful for having a family with rich military history and also grateful for my brother Jake Teeter and my friend Kacie Heinz who are currently serving. Appreciative is the least we can be to those who continue to fight for the freedom of our country.”
— Josh Teeter
“The military has always held a special place in my heart. I always try to express my thanks to them even in the smallest of ways. I love America and all the opportunities it gives me in life, it would not be possible without the Military. Thank you.”
— Braeden Barnes
“It is very much appreciated and we think about it every day when we sing the pledge. It’s taken for granted, but it’s a blessing to know we can express our feelings and thoughts because of the soldiers fighting for us. Thank you for all your sacrifices you make.”
“Thank for your service. You all give the ultimate sacrifice to keep this amazing country free. Thank you to all our brothers and sisters who have fallen. May God bless you all and keep you all safe.”