The Moffat County High School football team lines up for the National Anthem on Aug. 22 before their annual blue-and-white scrimmage game. The Bulldogs fell, 40-7, in their season-opener Friday at state No.1 ranked and defending 3A state champion Berthoud.

Photo by John Vandelinder

The Moffat County High School football team lines up for the National Anthem on Aug. 22 before their annual blue-and-white scrimmage game. The Bulldogs fell, 40-7, in their season-opener Friday at state No.1 ranked and defending 3A state champion Berthoud.

Bulldogs slain by Spartans

Defending champions use big plays to silence MCHS in season-opener

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Moffat County High School football coach Kip Hafey knew it was coming.

Heading to the Eastern Plains to face the defending state champion Berthoud Spartans, the Bulldog skipper was optimistic about his chances, but not overly confident.

Berthoud left no doubt who was playing the role of Goliath on Friday.

The Spartans scored on three of their first four plays, blazing to a 27-0 first-quarter lead, and never looked back on their way to a 40-7 season-opening victory.

Berthoud (1-0 overall, 1-0 Tri-Valley Conference) utilized the spread-option behind quarterback Jordan Major.

Major, a shifty senior, scored on an 81-yard run and hooked up with senior receivers John Duncan and Jeff Shields at will.

Duncan hauled in two touchdown passes for 118 yards, and Shields broke away for a 47-yard touchdown pass, as well.

And it happened all in the first-quarter.

Moffat County (0-1 overall, 0-1 Western Slope League) was overmatched on both sides of the ball, gaining just 132 to Berthoud's 375.

The Bulldogs maintained two steady drives in the first half, but "small miscues" as coach Hafey put it, halted the offense from reaching Spartan territory.

"We would get rolling along on each of our possessions," Hafey said, "and then something would happen to set us back 2 or 3 yards, and we would end up facing third and long. You've got to hand it to Berthoud."

The teams matched first downs at nine apiece, but Berthoud's big play offense was the difference.

"We executed really well in our offense," Spartans coach Dan McGinn said. "Our quarterback is a magician. That Jordy, we're lucky to have him."

By halftime, the No. 1 ranked team in the state held a 33-0 lead.

McGinn emptied his bench after a 50-yard touchdown jaunt by Major, and the extra point that followed, put the game into the mercy-rule.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the fourth quarter, albeit by a defensive score.

MCHS junior middle linebacker Helen Raymond intercepted an errant Spartan pass and returned it - while juggling the ball several times - for a 20-yard touchdown.

"I was reading the quarterback's eyes," Raymond said. "I just went over to it, the ball was behind me, and I hit it, juggled it up and hauled it in.

"I wasn't thinking touchdown, but it happened."

Sophomore Justin Benedict and junior Brian Ivy made solid contributions to the Moffat County defense, stuffing Spartan defenders enough to impress defensive coordinator Lance Scranton.

"The big plays hurt us," Scranton said. "Those guys played good games, but we've got a long way to go."

The Bulldogs host Rifle on Friday in both team's conference opener.

Berthoud opens conference play Friday at Fort Lupton.

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