Moffat County football, volleyball earn multiple All-Conference honors￼
Moffat County football and volleyball had a combined 13 all-conference players as the school‘s fall sports teams hosted their awards night just before the Thanksgiving break.
The football program hosted its awards banquet Nov. 21, with coaches passing out plenty of certificates and trophies.
Seniors Evan Atkin, Catcher Jackson, Johnny Lopez, Cort Murphy, Isaac Vallem each earned all-conference first team distinctions in the Class 2A Western Slope League. All-conference honorable mention went to seniors Kaden Hixson, Max Noland and Michael Voloshin, and juniors Evan Beaver and Hudson Jones.
Football head coach Lance Scranton was pleased with the level of competitiveness during the Bulldogs’ 7-3 season, and he was impressed by the team’s conduct, including during road trips.
“When we go and visit places, visit restaurants or stores, it is inevitable that a cashier or someone in a store or another coach will say to me, ‘You have some really fine young men there,’” Scranton said. “That’s the kind of thing that, as a coach, I’m always proud of.”
Running back Atkin was the league leader in total touchdowns with 23 and total points with 148, thanks in part to him kicking 10 extra points.
As quarterback for the first half of the season, Murphy was also a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball with 82 tackles. Likewise, Lopez was one of the best defensive backs in the league with six interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
Jackson and Vallem anchored the Bulldogs offensive line at center and guard, respectively. Voloshin also played both sides of the ball and led the team in sacks with five, which put him in a tie for the most in the league.
Though Atkin had the most receiving yards, Hixson, Jones and Noland were close behind as wideouts, with 292, 247 and 104 receiving yards, respectively. Hixson was also second to Atkin in rushing yards with 327, and Noland made an additional mark as the team’s punt returner.
During the volleyball team’s awards night on Nov. 22, coach Becca Sage told her players and their parents that Moffat County was the topic of much discussion during the Class 3A Western Slope League meeting.
“Both years that I have gone to the league meeting, I have gotten numerous compliments from other coaches on the Western Slope,” Sage said.
She added that the coach for league champion Delta laid on the praise.
“She was particularly blown away at the level of talent that Moffat County has and has been building,” Sage said. “She gave a huge compliment to our JV and varsity. We put up a huge fight, and those are D-I players we’re going against.”
All-conference first team honors went to seniors Lizzy LeWarne and Alexis Jones, and senior Diana Arellano received honorable mention.
At middle blocker, LeWarne led the team in blocks, ranked second in the leage with 91. At setter, Alexis Jones had 354 assists on the season, ranked fourth in the league. In the back row, Arellano served as the squad’s libero, earning 227 digs, which ranked 10th in the league.
Sage said opposing teams also complimented the level of spirit in Moffat County games.
“The fact that those coaches are noticing that you guys are so awesome out there on the court, you can’t coach that kind of passion or that kind of love for the game,” Sage said. “That comes from you guys.”
Academic all-state honors
Football and volleyball also saw a large number of athletes who gained academic all-state distinctions.
Academic first team honors went to juniors and seniors who maintain a 3.7 grade-point average, and honorable mention went to those with a 3.5 gpa.
Volleyball players Arellano, LeWarne, Alexis Jones and junior Ruby Short all earned first team honors.
For football, Atkin, Noland, senior Garrett Anson and juniors Ian Hafey and Wyatt Dade took academic all-state honorable mention. First team went to Murphy, Jackson, Lopez, Vallem, Voloshin and Hudson Jones, as well as junior Jimi Jimenez and senior team managers Hailey Collins and Taelee Knez.
“I think the thing that we’re most proud of as a staff is that we’re trying to build champions for life,” Scranton said. “They’re accountable for certain decisions they make in their life. They have to have some kind of a schedule and have some discipline. Those are the kinds of things that are going to count in their lives in 10 or 15 years. This is an avenue for these young men and ladies to grow up and become responsible adults.”
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