Stormy start to football in Moffat County leads to Bulldogs besting Summit in big way
Moffat County High School football vs. SummitTeam — 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q — FinalMCHS — 13 7 7 13 — 40SHS — 0 7 0 0 — 7
With rain, thunder and lightning hanging over the Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds just before kickoff Friday night, the dark clouds seemed to be gathering for the varsity football team’s season opener, yet if there was a negative omen in sight it wasn’t for the hosting team.
And, though the weather pushed the start back more than an hour, Bulldog fans found the night was worth the wait.
MCHS trounced the Summit Tigers 40-7 to start the season on the right foot.
The atmosphere of excitement turned to anxiety when a burst of harsh weather was unleashed about a half-hour before game time, contributing to multiple area fires, one of which could be clearly seen by stadium spectators.
CHSAA guidelines require administrators to wait a half-hour after lightning strikes and to reset the clock for each big clap, and the sun had already set by the time the Tigers had the opening kick after 8 p.m.
“I wasn’t sure how they were going to respond to that, because they were really fired up and then had nowhere to go with that. We didn’t want them dropping off,” said MCHS head coach Jamie Nelson.
Nelson’s concerns about performance were quickly alleviated. Two plays into the Bulldogs’ first drive saw receiver Victor Silva snag a screen pass from quarterback Colby Beaver, hug the sidelines and take it 65 yards to the end zone with only 47 seconds off the clock.
Silva, who moved to football from soccer this fall, said he was as surprised as anyone with the huge play.
“I wasn’t expecting to score, I was just hoping for the best,” he said with a smile.
The Tigers were ready to answer back, gaining their initial first down with a 20-yard catch by Cameron Kalafs to get into the Dogs’ territory, but they wouldn’t pass the 40. A gust of wind hurt their resultant punt, and rushing from Cale Scranton and Josh Teeter got Moffat County right back to the Tiger 40.
Beaver sailed it to Silva again from there for another touchdown with 28 seconds left in the opening quarter, setting the tone for a night that would end up being lopsided.
Altogether, Silva had 137 receiving yards on four catches, while Beaver’s throwing amounted to 164 total, hitting seven of 14 targets.
However, Beaver and Cale Scranton mixed it up in the pocket to keep things interesting, and both were able to scramble for some extra yardage. After a junior year where he almost exclusively used his arms rather than legs, Beaver said he embraces the idea of being a running quarterback, picking up 33 yards and Scranton 21.
Beaver threw for three TD’s, the final being a 16-yard slant to Connor Etzler midway through the fourth quarter.
It was Kevin Hernandez who racked up the big numbers on the ground, with 130 rushing yards on 10 carries, the lengthiest being a 41-yard jaunt and crossing the goal line twice, both from two yards. Teeter gained 79 yards on 16 rushes, including his longest for 28 from an improvised pitch from Beaver that came after a dropped snap.
As befitting his surname, Donnie Quick made two fourth-quarter carries count for a total 41 yards, making it to the 1-yard line on the second dash, Beaver finishing the drive by getting the Dogs’ final TD on the QB sneak.
“That route that I had, it was just great blocking from our line,” Quick said. “We were losing it a little bit mentally there, but we got it back.”
Defensively, Bulldogs were on fire, led in tackles by Angel Rodriguez with 13 total — nine solo and four assists — while Hernandez and Teeter each had eight altogether.
The Moffat County D-Line broke through the Tiger efforts again and again, as Corey Scranton sacked Summit QB Brendan Collins twice, with Drake Doherty and Logan Knez also bringing down the Tiger.
First-year Bulldog kicker Joahan Quezada nailed four of his six PATs, twice blocked by Summit’s Kalaf. Kalaf also scored the Tigers’ only TD of the evening — and so far their first of the season — on a 10-yard grab from Collins in the second quarter.
Among the Tigers’ highlights was an interception by Maxwell Duxbury that stopped the Bulldogs short at midfield, also in the second period. The Dogs also had several fumbles throughout the night, though only one resulted in a turnover.
Nelson noted that heading into halftime players were a little lackluster and an abundance of penalties were cause for concern, though Moffat County’s first outing of the season was more positive than not.
“We had some mistakes that held us back, and we should have had a couple more scores, but our run game came through and had some passes really open up,” he said. “All aspects, we did well. Just need to get in better shape and be a little more disciplined.”
While 0-2 Summit next travels to Conifer, MCHS hosts rival Steamboat Springs Sept. 7 for another home game, due to difficulties with the Sailors’ facilities. Bulldogs are already looking forward to the ever-popular Highway 40 face-off, though they’re also aware of the improvements they could stand to make.
“We need to be prepared mentally, and I think we’ll be alright. We’re almost there,” Quick said.
Timing is everything, and though a lightning delay hit the state track and field championships Friday afternoon, the Moffat County High School girls 4×200-meter relay was well ahead of the storm and ahead of everyone else on the track.