Senior Night scoring spree: Moffat County football rolls Coal Ridge to head into playoffs
For the Craig Press
It was an emotional evening for the coaches, players and parents Friday at the Bulldog Proving Grounds, but it’s by no means the final occasion the eldest players will be on their home field.
Moffat County High School football wrapped up its regular season with a dominating win of 51-0 over the 0-9 Coal Ridge Titans to complete the fall 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the 2A West League.
The Senior Night tradition included a pregame ceremony for the 10 upperclassmen on the team: Trace Frederickson, Ethan Hafey, Logan Hafey, Kyle Hoag, Carson Miller, Alex Musgrave, Ryan Peck, Myles Simpson, Taran Teeter and Joey Winters.
Athletes took the field with family members to celebrate their time with the gridiron program.
For Bulldog offensive coordinator Kip Hafey, it was twice as significant with twin sons Ethan and Logan in their final year, though he will still have his youngest son, Ian, an MCHS sophomore, on the team in coming years.
“It’s definitely been a special season and very cool to be able to watch,” Kip said. “It’s not very often that you can have three brothers on the same team, and they’ve been able to make it pretty special.”
He added that while he shares a surname with two of them, all of the eldest members of the team deserve praise as the postseason looms.
“I’m extremely proud of all our seniors on the great regular season they put together. They finished on a super-high note,” Kip said. “We’re clicking on O and D, and hopefully we can string it out for four more weeks.”
After facing their only true challenge so far this season a week earlier in a 17-14 loss in Delta that saw them stripped of a potential league title and undefeated status, the Bulldogs were more than ready to get back to their winning ways against a team that hasn’t had a W all autumn.
It’s been a particularly rough season for Coal Ridge, a school that hasn’t made it to the postseason since 2010. While they went 3-3 in a reconfigured spring season earlier this year, a small roster of only two dozen has struggled greatly in the Titans’ worst year since 2013 when their only victory was via forfeit.
Still, to the credit of first-year head coach Crockett Williams, Coal Ridge has only been shut out three times, and out of their eight previous losses, only three were by a margin of 40 points or more, the signal for a running clock mercy rule.
After keeping it fairly competitive against conference opponents Basalt (48-12), Rifle (28-7) and Aspen (48-7), Coal Ridge faced a fiercer foe in the Bulldogs, who recognized the kind of dedication their 2A West foes have shown in recent months.
The Titan defense held up well enough on the Dogs’ opening drive, but neither their running nor passing efforts made great strides.
After being held in check against Delta, junior Evan Atkin was let loose again for the home crowd, scoring his first of five touchdowns on a 44-yard rush in which he shook loose multiple Coal Ridge defenders, juking and spinning like he was vying to be the cover athlete of a Madden video game.
While Atkin scored the majority of the night’s points, Bulldog coaches wanted one of their unsung players to have a chance to score on the first conversion attempt.
Though he’s played exclusively blocking on the Moffat offensive line, Winters was in the backfield and took the handoff to go for two points. He was stopped short of the goal line, though he was excited for the opportunity.
While many of the seniors have line duties, Winters is one of the few who plays only that role, and he takes it seriously after competing alongside since-graduated players Corey Scranton and Daniel Cruz last season.
“It’s not only Coach Scranton but the linemen from the years past who have been able to help me be able to help the younger kids,” Winters said.
On a particularly good night for passing, quarterback Peck connected twice for the TD; once on a 46-yard catch-and-run to Ethan Hafey and then a 31-yard low throw that Miller caught in the end zone. Peck almost had a TD himself as he dove after the ball following a Titan punt that Atkin blocked, though the pigskin rolled out the back of the end zone to give the Dogs their safety.
All this — plus a Johnny Lopez interception, a sack by Frederickson, a fumble recovery by Ethan Hafey, and a fake PAT that resulted in a 2-point conversion pass to Cort Murphy — were within the first half, with a 44-0 scoreboard leaving the Moffat County fans thrilled.
While seniors may have been the focus of the night, they were hardly the only ones reaching highlights.
Earlier in the week, the MoCo C-Team earned a 27-6 win over Meeker, the only squad to defeat them in a 7-1 season.
“They really beat us up a month ago, but the same team came back and we jumped on them,” said C-Team coach Shane Hadley. “We avenged our only loss.”
During the game Monday, C-Team quarterback Evan Beaver connected with fellow sophomore Hudson Jones for three touchdowns in the first half, while freshman Osbaldo Quintana ran in a final TD later in the game.
It was a typically hard-nosed defense that helped the C-Team secure the victory, sophomore Ethan Schaaf among their heaviest hitters.
“I feel great, I’m ready to move on to that varsity level,” Schaaf said Monday. “Last year, I got to take some snaps on the road, and I hope I get to do more.”
Schaaf got his wish as most of the third quarter and all the fourth was devoted to getting the rest of the roster more playing time after the starters beat up on Titans early in the match
After Atkin scored his final six points early in the second half — made possible by Murphy’s fifth pick of the season on the Titans’ initial second-half drive — MCHS coaches pulled their big dogs.
Though they didn’t add to the scoring total — sophomore Bryant Carlson came close with an interception that was nearly a pick-six — the bunch of Bulldogs kept Coal Ridge contained.
Junior Tristan Malvitz immediately sacked backup QB Regan Powell— with Coal Ridge starter Ryder Powell benched early in the second half — on his first chance at defensive end. He also deflected a pass that possibly could have been yet another interception.
“I tried to pick it, but the dude was holding on to my arm; he had a full death grip on me,” Malvitz said.
While the older varsity players will likely see the most minutes going forward, the C-Team crew will be no less active in game preparation.
“We have lots of determination and we’ve had good practices. We’re just working as hard as we can,” Malvitz said.
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