HIGHLANDS RANCH Chaparral High School head football coach Ed Stevens has built an offense whose success is contingent upon controlling the line of scrimmage and the clock.
In the first two weeks of the season, that offense racked up two wins and more than 800 yards on the ground. In one of those wins the Wolverines rolled up 63 points behind a huge offensive line and a host of solid runners.
However, the Wolverines had not faced the undersized defense of Moffat County.
The Moffat County Bulldogs, Chaparral's opponents Friday night at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch, brought just 25 players to the game and a defensive front line averaging less than 200 pounds. Despite that, the Bulldogs gave the Wolverines their biggest scare of the season while losing 14-7.
Moffat County held the Chaparral offense to just 239 yards on the ground and one touchdown. But that was not enough to stop the Wolverines, whose defense came up with the biggest play of the night.
With 11:51 left in the fourth quarter and Moffat County at their own 19-yard line, the Bulldogs attempted a quick punt on third down. Dan DeGesauldo of Chaparral blocked the kick and defensive captain Jake Burns scooped up the loose ball at the 3-yard line and stumbled in for the go-ahead score, 13-7.
"We were just playing smash-mouth football tonight," Burns said. "When I saw the ball, I thought I had to score. I went to pick it up the first time and kicked and I just followed it in to the end zone."
That score, and the extra point by Grant Peterson, gave the Wolverines the lead, but it did not get them out of the woods.
The Bulldogs got one last chance to tie the game with 51 seconds remaining after Chapar-ral muffed the snap on a punt. Bulldogs quarterback Jeff Gaylord hit Kevin Voorhees over the middle at the Chaparral 24-yard line.
But with six seconds left, the Bulldogs' final pass dropped incomplete.
"To be honest," Chaparral head coach Ed Stevens said, "I thought this game would be easy. We came in thinking that we could score 63 on everyone and I was dreading the fact that it would be easy.
"But Moffat County was tough and they gave us a great game, which is huge to get us ready for league play."
In the first quarter, the potent offense of Chaparral did exactly what it was designed to do. The Wolverines picked up 84 yards on 19 plays, all on the ground, while eating nine minutes and 14 seconds off the clock. The only thing the offense failed to do was score a touchdown, but that was only because of the Wolverines own mistakes.
On just the sixth play from scrimmage, the Wolverines surprised the Bulldogs by showing pass. On the play, quarterback Chris Dunn did not pass, but scrambled 35 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, a holding call brought the ball back and the drive stalled three plays later.
That was the first, but not the last, time in the first half that a mistake would cost the Wolverines.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs looked to go to the air right from the start, but quarterback Gaylord completed just one pass in the only possession of the quarter for the Bulldogs.
After the Bulldogs punted, the Wolverines offense once again did what is was supposed to do and with seven carries by fullback Hardey Beitz, including a 6-yard dive to the end zone, the Wolverines were able to take more than five minutes off the clock and build a 7-0 lead.
Another defensive surge by Chaparral stopped the Bulldogs on three plays. The Wolverines offense then drove the ball 40 yards, to the Moffat County 15-yard line, but a fumble killed the drive.
The Bulldogs were unable to take advantage of that turnover, but when the Wolverines fumbled again later in the quarter the Bulldogs did not miss another opportunity.
Moffat County took over at its own 44-yard line, but needed just one play to even things up when Gaylord hit Voorhees with a flare pass. Voorhess then pitched it off to Nathan Browning, who completed the hook-n-ladder by jaunting 50 yards for the score.
That was the only time the Bulldogs would find the end zone, but the defense was able to keep the game close.
"Our kids played tough," Moffat County head coach John Haddan said. "Chaparral scored 63 points last week and only seven on our defense tonight.
"The kids just played hard tonight, we had our chances but didn't take advantage of them. We played Faith Christian tough and then our defense did not give up any points to Green River, Wyo. Our defense is tough," said the Moffat County coach.
The Wolverines improved to 3-0 while Moffat County fell to 1-2.
Chaparral 14, Moffat County 7
Moffat County 0 7 0 0 - 7
Chaparral 0 7 0 7 - 14
CHS Hardey Beitz 6 run (Grant Peterson kick)
MCHS Nathan Browning 54 run (Chris Field kick)
CHS Jake Burns 3 run on blocked punt (Grant Peterson kick)
MCHS Jeff Gaylord 9-11, Nathan Browning 3-49, Eric Bastow 2-11, Chris Field 1-2, Parker Moore 2-6.
CHS Chris Dunn 7-26, Jake Harberle 6-9, Chris Urban 4-28, Tom Borrelli 9-25, Hardey Beitz 24-127, Grady Gorman 6-24.
MCHS Jeff Gaylord (Comp-Att-Yards-TD -INT) 9-21-79-1-0; Chris Field 0-1-0-0-0
CHS Jeff Harbele 0-1-0-0-0
MCHS Chris Field 3-51, Nathan Browning 1(-1), Kevin Voorhees 3-20, Parker Moore 1-11