Three Moffat County football players named to All-State list |

Three Moffat County football players named to All-State list

Moffat County senior Evan Atkin makes a break with the ball during a playoff game with The Classical Academy on Nov. 4 in Colorado Springs.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

The Colorado High School Activities Association recently released its All-State football recipients, which included three Moffat County seniors.

Running back Evan Atkin made All-State Second Team, while Catcher Jackson and Isaac Vallem received honorable mention.

This is the second year Atkin has earned All-State honors after gaining a first team distinction in 2021. Last year, he led the state in total touchdowns during the regular season.

Atkin’s scoring numbers were held back a bit this year as he was sidelined with a shoulder injury for much of the early season. Even so, he amassed 23 total TDs in six games with a mix of rushing, receiving and punt and kick returns.

Personal bests this fall included seven touchdowns against Aspen, a single-game rushing yardage of 254 against Rifle, outdoing last year’s receiving numbers with 391 yards, and hitting 10 PATs as one of the team’s kickers.

Atkin led the Class 2A West League in total points at 148, and was ranked second in rushing yardage with 1,102, as well as being second in 2A in TDs.

Moffat County seniors Evan Atkin and Isaac Vallem line up for the coin toss during Bulldog football’s playoff game with The Classical Academy.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

“It was an awesome season getting stats like that,” Atkin said. “I feel like we were playing our hearts out in every game.”

All told, he finished his high school career with 59 touchdowns, 2,801 rushing yards on 354 carries — averaging over 90 yards per game across four years — 814 receiving yards on 38 catches and 3,888 all-purpose yards. With a resume like that, Coach Lance Scranton said Atkin was “an obvious choice” for All-State.

“He’s one of the best RBs to go through our program in all the years I’ve been here,” Scranton said.

As much as Atkin’s talent helped him this season, another part of his success came from the protection his fellow All-State players offered.

Jackson served as the starting center, and Vallem as the right guard on the Bulldogs offensive line.

Moffat County seniors Isaac Vallem and Catcher Jackson provide offensive line blocking during a playoff game with The Classical Academy on Nov. 4 in Colorado Springs.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Though their jobs are harder to quantify, the Bulldogs’ high-scoring games this season and minimal times seeing the quarterback sacked were largely due to the line.

Perhaps that’s what coaches had in mind when, after snapping the ball hundreds of times across the past three years, Jackson was given the opportunity to run in a goal-line touchdown against Grand Valley at the end of the regular season.

Scranton said that while all three athletes were deserving, the offensive line’s contributions can sometimes get overlooked.

“Linemen are kind of our unsung heroes, but we know much of what happens with our skill players isn’t possible without our linemen,” he said. “It was great to see the state recognize their skill and ability.”

Vallem was particularly pleased when he heard the news.

“I was really excited because with the line you don’t expect the recognition, but we got it,” he said.

Moffat County senior Catcher Jackson leads teammates in postgame congratulations following Bulldog football’s game with Aspen.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Jackson and Vallem were bigger contributors on offense than defense, but they stepped up on the other side of the ball as well. Jackson had eight tackles and Vallem 14 this season.

Vallem said he appreciated the work the Dogs’ full coaching staff put in, especially Scranton, whom he credits with building the team’s linemen.

“He really got us down with the basics and got us on the right path,” Vallem said. “I loved playing with my team and going up with them for the four years.”

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