The Moffat County Bulldogs had a good feeling coming into Friday's game against undefeated Berthoud.
"I think we did (have a good feeling)," Bulldog coach Kip Hafey said. "We hung with them for three-and-a-half quarters."
However, after an interception with 6:27 left in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs feelings changed.
"Like coach always says, it's the little things that matter," senior Cory Pike said.
The result was a 48-28 loss to the Spartans, who remain undefeated in class 3A.
The first half started a little slow for the Bulldogs, but as the pace picked up going into halftime, the Bulldogs knew they were on the verge of a breakthrough.
The start was not exactly what the Bulldogs wanted. The Spartans came out to score on third and goal, with 5 minutes and 54 seconds on the clock. Senior Jacob Pierick took the ball 12 yards for the touchdown and the 6-0 lead, the extra point was good and the Spartans had a 7-0 advantage.
"It was a big win, kind of what we thought, Spartan coach Dan McGinn said. "We expected Moffat County to come over here and be very physical, and they were."
The second quarter started similar to the first for the Bulldogs. Quarterback Andrew Drake went back to pass and the Spartans' Shea Harvey picked it off, putting the ball back into Berthoud's hands.
With time ticking down on the clock, the Spartans' Steven Shiley took the ball 14 yards into the end zone and put Berthoud up, 14-0.
Moffat County had to make its move.
On the kickoff, senior Sam Wheeldreyer turned up the heat and took the ball 87 yards to put the Bulldogs on the board.
Berthoud immediately re-
sponded with a touchdown of its own -- this time it was senior Derek Good, scoring his 20th touchdown of the season at 3:40.
With 1:25 left on the clock, the Bulldogs kept fighting -- after a miscommunication, the Bulldogs took their final time out of the half. The following play was a 2-yard touchdown by Drake.
Heading into halftime down 21-14, the Bulldogs kept hope afloat.
The Bulldogs started the third quarter fierce, forcing the Spartans to punt on four downs.
With a solid drive, Moffat County marched down the field 50 yards and put seven more points on the board, with a J.T. Haddan 4 yard touchdown, creating a 21-21 tie.
With 5:17 left on the clock, the Bulldogs were set for another kick off -- this time, however, a big play by the Spartans rocked them back on their heels.
"We had a couple of opportunities to respond and we did," McGinn said. "I'm really proud of our kids."
It took two plays and 47-yards for Good to get touchdown number 21. The score gave the Spartans a 28-21 edge, but the Bulldogs would not let down.
The Bulldogs started the fourth quarter on the upside of things, scoring another game-tying touchdown with 8:10 on the clock.
The Spartans returned the favor at 7:13 after a 59-yard kickoff return by Good. They set up at the Bulldogs 35-yard line and drove down to the 5-yard line. The play set up quarterback Jordan Major for another Spartan touchdown.
After not missing an extra point all night, the Spartans set up for the extra point, but to their surprise, senior Cory Pike had other things in mind. Getting a good jump on the ball, Pike knocked it down and gave the Bulldogs new life.
"It was huge," Pike said.
Berthoud gave themselves new life on their next possession, after getting a 15-yard penalty on the kick off, the Spartans read the pass-play right, and senior Jacob Pierick nabbed the ball to put the Bulldogs back on the defensive. Two plays later, Berthoud put the biscuit in the basket on another Major touchdown.
Feeling much like a broken record, the Bulldogs continued to make small mistakes.
When all is said and done, the teams ultimate goal has been to make the playoffs, and little by little, the Bulldogs are making progress toward that goal.
"Getting into the playoffs is the key," Hafey said. "Once you're there, you can make a run at it. We have four weeks and really it comes down to we have to win four in a row."
The Bulldogs hit the road again next Friday for a match-up with Delta at 7 p.m.