The dogs were unleashed at Moffat County High School Friday night, and the hard hitting homecoming game lived up to all expectations.
In the end, the Moffat County Bulldogs fell to the Bulldogs from Palisade 21-11, but it was a hard-hitting game with plenty of big plays, and the local dogs weren't out of it until late in the fourth quarter.
Palisade came in ranked number two in the state for 3A, and they brought two 100-yard per game rushers and the top-rated quarterback in 3A. While Moffat County has played tough defense all year, points haven't always come easy, so Palisade seemed to have the upper hand before the opening kick. That all changed on Palisade's first possession, when the Bulldogs of Craig bared their teeth.
Palisade took the opening kick-off, but a hard hit on their second play jarred the ball loose, and Moffat County recovered deep in Palisade territory.
The Palisade defense was tough, but Moffat County went for it on two consecutive fourth-downs, and converted both, to push the ball down close to the 10 yard line. Tight end Chris Bergmann and wide receiver Kevin Voorhees each dropped tough passes in the end zone, and the dogs from Craig were forced to settle for three.
The celebration was short-lived, though, as Palisade returned the ensuing kickoff to near mid field, and then drove down the field aided by a Moffat County penalty on a crucial third down and a 20-yard pass completion on another third down play.
Palisade scored with 4:32 left in the first quarter to take the lead. Things began to look bleak for Moffat County in the first half after that.
The Craig team began a series of three-and-out possessions, and Palisade put together a 60-yard scoring drive on their third possession to go ahead 14-3 with :24 left in the first quarter.
After Moffat County's was shut down, Palisade took over again, and looked to air it out. Kevin Voorhees made a sliding interception near mid field that would have put Moffat County back in business, but it was called a trap, and Palisade retained possession. Moffat County bore down, though and forced Palisade to punt.
Voorhees was again the victim of a controversial call when his long punt return was called back when the official said his knee had touched the ground while making the catch. That put the local Bulldogs deep in their own territory, and it was three-and-out again.
Palisade put together another long scoring drive near the end of the half, and the half ended with Moffat County looking at a 21-3 deficit, and Palisade looked unstoppable.
Moffat County's defense doesn't know what unstoppable is, though, and Palisade would never find the end zone again.
Most of the second half was a defensive struggle, with neither offense able to solve the opposing defense.
Finally, with :51 left in the game, Voorhees hauled in a Mike Charchalis pass from 12 yards out, and Chris field punched in the two-point conversion to bring homecoming team to within 10 points.
Moffat County managed to get the ball back, but an interception in the waning seconds nixed any hopes of a miracle finish.
The Moffat County Bulldogs proved they could play with anybody, though, and the state's second ranked team had to feel relieved to get out of the doghouse with the win.