Seasons fly by for Craig Middle School football, volleyball | CraigDailyPress.com

Seasons fly by for Craig Middle School football, volleyball

Craig Middle School's Ian Hafey charges toward the end zone against Rifle.
Andy Bockelman

The calendar may still say fall, but with Craig Middle School already edging into winter activities with the kickoff of the boys basketball season, the first round of CMS sports are already done.

And, though it’s been a quick one, it’s also been memorable for Bulldogs.

CMS football and volleyball wrapped up their respective seasons in the past week with their final games on the road.

A new format for the volleyball program saw one combined team for seventh- and eighth-graders with A, B, C and D levels.

“It’s 60 girls, it’s a big program, and we’re hoping that keeps pushing them as the years go on and builds that level of competition,” said coach Callison Miller. “Most schools are doing that because of numbers, and it makes it easier and more concise and learning that same level of play.”

Though a learning curve made for a season with ups and downs alike — including a second-place finish to Rangely for C- and D-Teams at an Oct. 4 district tournament in Meeker and losses in a single-elimination event at Soroco for A and B — girls continued to get a good grasp on the game, said coach Shaylyn White.

“We’ve had some challenges, and I’ve learned so much as a coach about mindset. That’s been our biggest thing this season,” White said. “The girls know they have to have the right mindframe, when they make a mistake, just shake it off and go on. They have the skills and they know how it put it together.”

While volleyball’s new style saw grades mix and match, seventh- and eighth-grade football had some big differences.

The younger group ended the fall 2-3, ending the schedule at home against Rifle in a Sept. 30 22-12 win coached by Mark Clemmons and Kyle McQuiggan.

“Fundamentally, they’re doing so much better understanding the game and the responsibilities,” Clemmons said. “This team has probably some of the best kids I’ve ever coached — good sense of humor, glad to be at practice and had a good time all the time.”

While the seventh-graders stayed well in front of the Cubs, the eighth-grade Dogs made it no contest at 32-8 the same day.

The same group moved to an undefeated season at 7-0 with a 20-6- victory Oct. 3 in Meeker.

CMS coach Tony Maneotis co-headed the team with George Raftopoulos in a partnership the two said worked well for them and the roster.

The finish to the year is one Maneotis was pleased with, both because of a season of success as well as the team moving on to bigger things to come at Moffat County High School.

“Every position the kids were strong at,” Maneotis said. “We could put a kid in for a linebacker, and he knows what to do. Put a kid in for an offensive lineman, he knows what to do. They’re such a well-trained team and a good group of kids.”