Slip'n' Slide

Moffat County Bulldogs blow first half lead, lose to Palisade

It was a dark and stormy night -- literally.

The Moffat County Bulldogs faced off against Palisade on Friday night on a field that looked more like a swamp than the gridiron, and came away defeated, 9-28.

After heavy rains throughout the day, the field at Moffat County High School was more than a little soggy for the game.

Moffat County was up 9-6 at halftime, but a minute into the third quarter of play, the officials had to postpone the game because of lighting

About 45 minutes later, the teams were back on the field and back in action, and that's when the tables turned for Palisade.

On a second and 10 from Palisade's 34-yard line, Bull-dog quarterback Andrew Drake fumbled the snap and Palisade recovered. The ensuing drive by Palisade resulted in a 10-play, 45-yard scoring drive to give Palisade the 5-point advantage. From that point on, the Palisade Bulldogs never looked back.

"I think both teams played well," Palisade head coach John Arledge said. "We did what we had to do."

Arledge said he thought his team got a couple of good breaks during the second half and that was the difference for his team.

"We had some good breaks, and they didn't," Arledge said.

After not finishing drives last week at Battle Mountain, Moffat County head coach Kip Hafey was determined not to make the same mistakes during this game. He didn't.

"We would have won the game, if we didn't fumble the ball," Hafey said.

What Hafey is referring to was the inability of his team to keep possession. With six fumbles for three losses, the Moffat County could not keep a handle on the pigskin.

"The first half was a good half of football for us," Hafey said.

What wasn't good for Moffat County was the game delay.

"We were pumped for a little while," senior running back Nick Navratil said. "But the tables turned so quickly, and they (Palisade) took advantage. Sometimes, it seems like the teams intensity falls away."

As Hafey said, the first half was good football for Moffat County. Opening the scoring was a 32-yard field goal from Cory Pike at 2 minutes and 59 seconds into the game.

Stopping Palisade at the 46-yard line set Moffat County up for its only touchdown of the game -- a 12-play, 44-yard drive that ended with a Navratil 3-yard run into the end zone. Up 9-0 and heading into the second quarter, things looked good for Moffat County.

The second quarter was all Palisade, keeping possession of the ball for close to 10 minutes -- even with a fumble that was recovered by Moffat County's Jake Bricker.

Palisade's scoring drive in the second quarter started on a Moffat County fumble by Drake and ended with a 3-yard run by quarterback Tanner Whaley. The nine-play drive ticked 3:42 off the clock and totaled 31 yards.

As the clock wound down, Moffat County was feeling good about heading into the second half.

The third quarter began and with 11:05 left on the clock, stopped.

Moffat County had a third and seven opportunity, converted, but were once again hindered on a fumble by Drake.

Palisade went on to score with 3:26 left in the third and again in the fourth at 11:28 and 3:22.

The Palisade defense smothered Moffat County in the second half, creating plays and stopping the Bulldogs just short.

One point that Hafey mentioned after the game is that the Bulldogs had to dig deep into their reserves, seeing a number of players go out with injuries.

"We were on our third center," Hafey said. "That's tough."

The Bulldogs are now 1-2 and will play Eagle Valley Friday. Eagle Valley beat Steamboat Springs last night 16-6.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

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