The Moffat County defenders challenged each other before their game against Glenwood Springs to become a scoring defense. In the second half, they answered that challenge with two interceptions for touchdowns to seal a 32-14 homecoming win against the Demons.
"They hadn't scored all year," Moffat coach Kip Hafey said. "So they came up big to get two scores tonight."
The defense also helped set the tone early by forcing a fumble during the Demons' first possession at the Bulldogs' 30-yard line.
"Our tough night started from the first possession," Glenwood coach Rocky Whit--worth said. "From that first drive on, turnovers plagued us."
The Bulldogs marched 70 yards in 3 minutes, 15 seconds and capped the drive with an 8-yard pass from senior quarterback Derek Duran to senior tight end Kevin Loughran. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 6-0.
"That first series, we sent a message," Hafey said. "We forced the turnover and then our offense pounded the ball for a nice, physical drive."
The Demon offense had to punt on its four remaining possessions in the first half.
After the first stop, Moffat drove the ball 60 yards and scored with a 1-yard run by sophomore J.T. Haddan to make it 12-0.
After the second punt, the Bulldogs were threatening to go up by three touchdowns when the Demons intercepted a halfback pass in the end zone.
Punt three yielded another long Bulldog drive that resulted in the team's third touchdown. Duran scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The two-point conversion put the 'Dogs up 20-0, which was the score at halftime.
The Demon defense tried to give the offense some help with a forced fumble on Moffat's first drive of the second half.
Then the interceptions started coming.
Bulldog senior Reid Hanne--man picked off senior Eric Lundin four plays after the fumble and ran it back for a 72-yard score.
"All you think is, 'Don't get caught,'" Hanneman said about his run back that made it 26-0.
The biggest play of the night for the Demons came on their next series. Senior Jeremy Christner took a punt down the left side of the field for 80 yards to the Bulldog 20. With the next play, junior Barrett Jensen bowled through several would-be tacklers for a 20-yard touchdown.
The third quarter ended 26-7.
After a stop on fourth down, the Demon offense started to drive again. The Demons entered Bulldog territory when Duran intercepted a pass and took it back for a 60-yard touchdown to make it 32-7.
In the second half, the Bulldog defense gained 132 yards to the offense's 78 yards.
"(Moffat's) line put a lot of pressure on me all night," Lundin said. "But a lot of it was me rushing my throws."
Hanneman couldn't give his fellow defensive backs all the credit.
"The credit is about half and half," he said. "We had good coverage, and they had good pressure."
Justin Kawcak and Duran added interceptions for the Bulldogs. On Duran's second pick, he ran it back 99 yards, but a clipping call, which was unpopular with the Moffat bench, called it back.
Lundin did have one big pass play for the night, connecting with Stephen Vigil on a 52-yard pass play to make it 32-14, but two more interceptions in the second half kept the Demons at a distance.
The Demons had 108 yards on 27 carries. Most of those yards came after the game was already decided. In the first half, they had 24 yards on the ground. Lundin finished the night 10-for-25 for 120 yards through the air.
"We're successful when we run the ball," Lundin said. "We had to throw because we got behind big early. I think we can be successful when we air it out, but it didn't happen tonight."
Moffat gained 238 of its 316 yards in the first half. Duran was 7 for 12 for 122 yards. Loughran and senior Cass Thompson had big receiving nights. The tight end had four catches for 61 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Thompson had three catches for 63 yards. The leading rusher for Moffat was Haddan, who bulldozed his way to 78 yards on 17 carries.
"I thought our first half was the best first half we've played all season," Hafey said. "We came out to play tonight."
The one negative for the Bulldogs on the night was an injury to starting tailback and defensive back Andrew Drake. The junior will be out at least two weeks with a knee injury.
The Bulldogs improved to 3-2 in the Western Slope League and 4-2 overall, and the Demons dropped to 1-4 in the league and 1-5 overall.
Hafey pointed out that his senior class was undefeated in homecoming games, but he didn't want to celebrate too long.
"We have Palisade to prepare for," he said. "We're looking forward to the challenge."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or dpress firstname.lastname@example.org.