Painting the town blue |

Painting the town blue

Craig community rallies behind football team

The Moffat County Bulldogs will line up against one of the toughest defenses in the state today.

But on Friday, the football players formed a different kind of line. Lined up along West Victory Way, the team encouraged passing motorists to honk to show their support.

The street sounded like Denver during rush hour.

That kind of community support has been common in Craig during the past week, as the Bulldogs geared up for the Class 3A quarter-final matchup against the Niwot Cougars, a game many consider the toughest in this round of the playoffs.

Two examples of community support stood out Friday.

Twenty-five Craig businesses decorated their stores blue and white in a competition, sponsored by the football players’ mothers, to see who could show the most support for the team.

The staff at the Moffat County Courthouse organized and hosted a tailgate party for the football players and cheerleaders.

All the support is helping the team’s mental game, sophomore center Blake Kawcak said.

“It’s making us better,” he said. “We’ve got to win it for the town. We can’t let the people who support us down.”

Junior cheerleader Christalin Thompson said the support made her feel proud of Craig.

“It’s brought the town closer together. The town has a lot of spirit,” she said.

The Moffat County High School cheerleaders judged Jackson’s Office Supplies to be the best decorated store.

On the sidewalk in front of the store stood graves marked with the names of the Bulldogs’ vanquished foes, Pueblo County, Cortez and Steamboat Springs. Another grave, next to a stuffed mountain lion wearing a sign that said ‘Dead,’ was reserved for the Niwot Cougars.

Jackson’s owner, Lani Cleverly, hoped the Niwot football team would see the display when they arrived in Craig.

“We just want it to be intimidating to the other team,” Cleverly said.

The store won four tickets to the game, which starts at 1 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium, and a football autographed by the team. New Images and Craig Physical Therapy were top contenders, too.

At the tailgate party, the Moffat County commissioners and Clerk and Recorder’s Office staff served bratwursts and hotdogs donated by Mountain Meats. Boyko, City Market and Pepsi also contributed to the party.

Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan helped organize the tailgate party. She thought it turned out terrifically.

Sullivan grew up in Craig and attended Moffat County High School, but she couldn’t remember the town previously showing such a magnitude of support.

Many attributed the widespread support to the team’s successful 10-1 season. It’s been many years since the team was ranked as one of the state’s top five football teams.

Although many people are only now showing their support for the team, Lube Plus on West Victory Way has kept its garage door decorated with players’ numbers for the entire season.

Bonnie Green said she painted the garage door for her grandsons, Justin and Jason Kawcak, as well as the rest of the team.

“I love it,” Green said. “I wish there was more of it.”

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or

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