Moffat County football weathers tough conditions, but falls to Basalt
CRAIG — Bunches of snow is nothing Moffat County High School football players haven’t seen before, but that didn’t make Friday night’s game any less miserable.
The Bulldogs had their playoff hopes dashed for the second year in a row by the same team, as the Basalt Longhorns trampled them 47-0 to defend their status as reigning 2A Western Slope League champions.
The evening began in high spirits for Moffat County fans, with Senior Night festivities honoring the upperclassmen — Miki Klimper, Alex Nevarez, Dominic Pascetti, Braeden Barnes, Spencer Brown, Toryn Hume, Colby Beckett, Marcus Delgado, Zane Shipman, Nate Baker and manager Zoey Hammer — and their families on what would be their final home event.
But, a blustery, breezy atmosphere during the ceremony was only the beginning of unfriendly conditions.
In keeping with Basalt’s 7-1 season, the night was another showcase for running back Noah Williams, who rushed for 150 yards and repeatedly pounded through and edged around the Moffat County defense, taking three touchdowns in the first quarter alone, all in the red zone. As a result, the Longhorns led 21-0 going into the second quarter.
Apart from a 31-yard burst through the Basalt defensive line by Josh Teeter, Moffat County’s offense early on offered few highlights. A fierce wind that worked against the Bulldogs at the onset worked somewhat in their favor once they switched directions, but, after a successful fake punt attempt in the first period, Alex Nevarez ran for it again and was promptly stuffed at the Dogs’ 22. Basalt was able to punch it in quickly from there on the sneak by quarterback Trevor Reuss.
The uphill battle only grew tougher, as Miki Klimper was forced to the sidelines after a hard hit on a Moffat County kick return. The Bulldogs punted after going three and out, but were able to force Basalt’s first boot when the Longhorns’ reverse to Griffen Jenkins gave them nothing on third and long.
Colby Beaver sailed it to Connor Etzler twice in row to finally make headway into Basalt territory, but the Longhorns stopped them at their 24. It took no time at all for Reuss to throw a long bomb to Jenkins, who weaved his way through defenders for a TD with more than half the field on the catch, good for 58 yards, total, and part of 100 yards receiving on the night.
Rain was turning to sleet, which would later turn into snow, as the 35-0 halftime scoreboard loomed large. The first half ended unceremoniously, with Nevarez taken off the field after another fake punt and a pass to Basalt’s Juan Rosario falling just short.
Moffat County proved it still had gas in the tank early in the second half, as Toryn Hume wrestled away the ball for a fumble recovery, yet little yardage from there flipped it right back, thanks to a Basalt pass rush that never quite sacked Beaver but hurried him again and again.
Williams got the clock running with a counter play of about 25 yards, though a tenacious Bulldog line, led by Hume, blocked the PAT to keep it 41-0.
Following an interception by Chace Maytham, the Longhorns sealed it with one final touchdown in the fourth quarter. Jake Reardon swept wide for a run of about 30 yards, and some unsportsmanlike conduct on both sides ensured the score would count, though the Dogs prevented the two-point conversion.
Teeter led in rushing, with 60 yards, as part of the Dogs’ 92 on the night. Etzler’s two catches totaled 32 for a receiving total of 51. Beaver was nine for 23 on completions.
Hume and Beckett tied in tackles, with 13 each, eight of which were single-handed for Beckett.
Pascetti earned the lone sack for either side, bringing down Reuss for six yards.
MCHS coach Keith Gille could only credit the Longhorns for a game well-played.
“They’re great up front, they’ve got good skill positions and they’re well-coached,” he said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t give them much of a contest.”
Basalt faces Roaring Fork at home Oct. 27 to conclude the regular season before moving into a guaranteed 2A playoff slot. An 8-1 record is easily in sight against an opponent that lost 62-0 to Coal Ridge on Friday.
At 4-4, Moffat County is all but out of postseason contention but can maintain a winning record for the year when it travels to Aspen.
The Skiers are 7-1 after a 42-6 win in Steamboat Springs and will fight the Dogs every step of the way, not only for second place in the conference, but also for a potential playoff berth that is still in their grasp.
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In another setting, Skiers thrive in cold weather.