This is football the way it was meant to be. It's four yards and a cloud of dust. It's bodies flying in the trenches and intense battles for mere inches on the gridiron. It's Coach John Haddan's Bulldogs football, and it produced the first win of the season for Moffat County High School Friday night at Green River Wyoming.
In the face of a stiff, cold Wyoming wind, the Bulldogs and Wolves were in a defensive dogfight all night.
Most of the first half was played between the thirties, and neither team mounted any serious offensive challenges until late in the second quarter. With fifty seconds left in the half, Green River picked off a Bulldogs pass in Moffat County territory. It looked as though the Bulldogs might go into the locker room trailing at the half.
The defense was in no mood to give up points, however, and Kevin Voorhees picked off a Chris Middlemas pass at the Bulldogs' 17 yard line with forty-one seconds in the half. The half ended in a stalemate.
The Bulldogs came into the second half with a simple strategy, "Just keep punching it at 'em," Coach John Haddan said on the sideline. "Let's just keep pounding 'em."
The Bulldogs pounded it at the Wolves for the entire third quarter, but the Wolves didn't give much ground. The wind didn't let up much either, and the temperature dropped even further as the game pounded on.
"What we need is an indoor arena," said Chris Phillips, a 210 pound Bulldogs lineman. "I'm from Florida, and it don't get this cold down there."
Green River tried to heat their passing game up a little in the second half, but it cost them two more interceptions, one by Voorhees and one by John Counts.
It looked as though neither team would find paydirt in the hard-hitting slugfest, but Haddan's hard-nosed offensive strategy finally began to pay dividends in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves''s defense began to feel the effects of the constant barrage of body blows, and the Bulldogs took advantage.
Mike Charchalis closed the third quarter with a 25-yard run that put the Bulldogs in Wolves' territory.
The Bulldogs continued to pound away at the Green River defensive front, and another 20-yard jaunt by Charchalis gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal at the Wolves' five yard line.
Chris field eventually took it in from two yards out at 10:06 in the fourth, and the Bulldogs took the only lead they'd need. The two point conversion failed, and the door was open for the Wolves to come back, but the Bulldog's defense was just too tough.
Every time Green River seemed to get something going, the Bulldogs would make a big play to shut the Wolves down.
Green River managed another late threat with a blocked punt recovered at their own 46 yard line, but Thad McCollum recovered a Wolves' fumble on the next play to snuff out the drive before it ever got going.
The rest was about ball control and patience, and the Bulldogs held on for the 6-0 win over a tired and dejected Green River team.
"The offensive unit did a good job moving the ball up and down the field, we just need to work on getting it into the end zone," Haddan said.
"We had good effort against Faith Christian in the first game, and we built on that with Green River," Haddan added.
It doesn't get any easier for the Bulldogs next week, though. They travel to Parker on Friday to face a tough Chaparral team.
"They run a double-tight robust really well on offense," Haddan said, "so we'll have to really work on that in practice this week." The game starts at 7 p.m.