Steamboat Springs High School football loses 21-14 to Moffat County High School in regional rivalry |

Steamboat Springs High School football loses 21-14 to Moffat County High School in regional rivalry

Steamboat Springs High School’s Austin Ban gets tackled by Moffat County High School’s Josh Teeter during the Yampa Valley rivalry game in Craig on Saturday. The Bulldogs defeated the Sailors 21-14.
Andy Bockelman/Courtesy

The annual face-off between the blue and red of the Yampa Valley is always a highlight of the season regardless of whether the two sides are in the same conference, and the Friday night showdown in Craig between Moffat County High School and Steamboat Springs did not disappoint.

MCHS took a 21-14 victory over their regional rivals in a showcase of skills that also happened to be the closest game between the two in years, one which was truly decided in the last 60 seconds.

Despite the Sailors jumping back into the 3A division after spending two seasons in the 2A Western Slope League, Steamboat has stuck to smaller teams in the non-conference portion of its season, including a zero week opener against 1A Manual that they won 24-12 followed by a loss in Cedaredge, 34-26 against the Bruins.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs came into the skirmish looking to keep the energy rolling their way after an Aug. 31 40-7 blowout at home against the Summit Tigers.

The Dogs’ flirtation with the mercy rule the week before was hardly the case this time as the Sailors were more than a match for them despite many obstacles.

Starting Steamboat quarterback Diego Effinger was taken out of commission quickly in the opening quarter, limping off the field with a knee injury, replaced by Drew Bowers.

“We’ve got a good two-quarterback system, so we knew Drew was ready to go,” said Steamboat coach Shawn Baumgartner.

Before Bowers took over, the Sailors already had a mishap by that point, as a fumble in the backfield was scooped up by Moffat County’s Dagan White and run all the way to the end zone less than four minutes into the game.

Steamboat seized on their turnover opportunity mere minutes later as MCHS quarterback Colby Beaver lost control of the ball, which was grabbed by Johnathon Kaminski, who dashed to the red zone.

The Sailors’ scoring position didn’t help as myriad holding calls kept them from a touchdown, while a 20-yard field goal attempt went wide.

Turnovers afflicted either side in the second quarter as Jameson Tracy snagged an interception for the Sailors, who promptly lost possession again as White grabbed another fumble. Once the Dogs got within one yard, Beaver snuck it in to give Moffat County the 14-0 lead at halftime.

Steamboat got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, as a good string of rushing put Bowers within five yards and a few failed passes prompted him to scramble for the TD himself to make it 14-7.

MCHS answered back quickly with a rapid drive capped off by a 20-yard TD grab by Kameron Baker, but Bowers later whipped it to receiver Maxim Fullerton, who would make the biggest play of the game with a 65-yard sprint to the end zone.

The Sailors blocked a punt at midfield to take over with plenty of potential and only about one minute to play. However, punter Kevin Hernandez responded by promptly sacking Bowers, who went down again at Logan Knez’s hands and then again by Hernandez to make it fourth down and a mile that the QB couldn’t make up with a quick draw play for a few yards.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better game,” Baumgartner said. “That’s what this game is between Steamboat and Craig. Defensively, we played really well, and offensively in the second half we moved the ball well. We just need to be more consistent.”

As the season continues, 2-0 Moffat County hits the road Sept. 14 for the Dogs’ first away game, meeting the Battle Mountain Huskies in Edwards, while the same night Steamboat, 1-2, is scheduled to host the Middle Park Panthers of Granby, which they will do at the middle school field.

“It’ll just be good to be back on a Steamboat field,” Baumgartner laughed.

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