Too bad the first quarter in the homecoming game Friday against the Rifle Bears didn't count for the Moffat County High School varsity football team. If it didn't the Bulldogs would have outscored the Bears, who are ranked No. 5 in the Denver Post Polls.
Rifle scored 18 points in the opening period and then hung on for a 25-13 victory over the Bulldogs.
"The field position played a key part in the game just like it did last week," said Bulldogs coach John Haddan. "We just can't give any team that kind of field position and expect to win. Rifle pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage. We gave up a lot of penalties up front and those are some of the things that we need to work on."
The Bears improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Western Slope Conference, while MCHS fell to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in league play.
"Moffat County did a good job tonight and they are very well-coached," said Bears coach Darrel Gorham. "Our kids played hard, but I want to give credit to the Bulldogs as they played real hard."
Offensively, the Bulldogs finished with 378 yards. Quarterback Jeff Gaylord, a junior, ended the game by completing 18 of 32 passes for 311 yards. Gaylord threw one touchdown and two interceptions.
Wide receiver Kevin Voorhees, a junior, grabbed 12 catches for 217 yards. Defensively, senior linebackers Kevin Field, 22 tackles, and John Counts, 11 tackles, paced the team.
"We were not going to give up there at the end," said Voorhees. "Gaylord threw the ball good tonight and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have one catch. Rifle was good size and they played hard every down. We just need to get over this game and come out and have a good week of practice."
In the game, MCHS fumbled on its second play from scrimmage and Rifle took over at the Bulldogs 34-yard line.
Five plays later, Bears running back Alfonso Alfini dove over from the 1-yard line for a 6-0 lead at the 9-minute mark.
The Bears kicked the extra point, but a host of Bulldogs blocked it.
Rifle's second touchdown of the quarter came when Bears running back Heath Arnett found the end zone from the 2-yard line at the 5:40 mark. The Bears then went for two, but the run failed.
Rifle finished the first half scoring with a minute left in the first quarter when Bears running back Doug Gieck ran it in from the 4-yard line. Once again, Rifle went for two, but didn't convert.
Neither team managed a score in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Rifle took a commanding 25-0 lead when Bears quarterback Ryan Whittington hit Levy Davis for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs started to wake up as MCHS scored its first touchdown of the game with six minutes left when Matt Johnston, a senior, hit Wittington and fellow senior Jake Hettinger wrapped up the ball in the end zone. Chris Field, a sophmore, nailed the extra point to make the score, 25-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Gaylord fired an onside kick and the ball rolled seven yards, hit a Bears player, bounced off and landed in Gaylord's hands.
Three plays later, Gaylord hit Nathan Browning, a junior, for a 35-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 25-13 with 3:58 remaining.
The Bulldogs went for two, but came up short.
The Bears ended the game by just running out the clock.
"In conference play you have to win on the road," said Gorham. "This win is a stepping stone for us and I am really happy for the kids."
MCHS will try to get back on track at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they travel to Steamboat Springs.
"Steamboat Springs is a tough team," said Haddan. "They are a much improved team from a year ago. They run the ball really well and it should be a good game."