Nathan Tomlin runs the ball during Moffat County High School's 21-16 victory at Rifle High School. Tomlin caught the game-clinching interception with less than five seconds to play.

Photo by Ben Bulkeley

Nathan Tomlin runs the ball during Moffat County High School's 21-16 victory at Rifle High School. Tomlin caught the game-clinching interception with less than five seconds to play.

Bulldogs win sealed with Nathan Tomlin's interception

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Moffat County's Halen Raymond, No. 57, reacts after tackling Rifle's James Martinez during the second quarter of Friday's game against the Bears. Moffat County went on to win the game in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

If last week's Moffat County High School varsity football game against Berthoud was a close game, then its game Friday against Rifle High School was razor thin.

With Rifle driving down the field with less than 20 seconds left in the game, the Bears' quarterback Joe Burgess threw a pass that would give Rifle a 22-21 advantage.

The ball was up, the ball was caught.

By Moffat County's Nathan Tomlin.

Tomlin's catch preserved a 21-16 Bulldogs win, its second in as many weeks.

For the senior cornerback, it was never in doubt.

"I saw Matt (Linsacum) go up for it, and he tipped it and I was able to catch it," he said. "When I caught it, I thought, 'Game over.'"

Tomlin's catch was the final big play in a game filled with them.

Moffat County scored first, when a Casey Martin interception gave the Bulldogs the ball back around midfield.

Fullback Pablo Salcido moved the ball in the air and with his legs, enabling the Bulldogs to get to the Bears' 1-yard line.

After a Matt Linsacum one-yard quarterback sneak, Moffat County was ahead.

The rest of the first quarter was a battle between blitzing Bulldogs linebackers and large Rifle offensive linemen.

The Bears were able to get within Bulldogs' territory in the second quarter, but a sack from Halen Raymond moved the Bears back, and Rifle had to settle for a field goal.

Moffat County was able to score again near the end of the first half.

Solid running by Salcido, running back Braeden Sullivan and wingback Jasen Kettle moved the Bulldogs deep into Rifle's red zone.

After a time out, Linsacum launched a pass to the corner of the end zone, finding tight end Brady Conner and another 6 points.

The ensuing extra point attempt caught the Bears off guard, as Raymond faked the kick, and Sullivan wound up with the ball and an extra 2 points for his Bulldogs.

The second half opened with Moffat County receiving the ball.

The Bulldogs' first possession included two Jasen Kettle runs of more than 10 yards to get the Bulldogs within the Bears' 40-yard line.

But even after a gutsy Nathan Tomlin drive, Moffat County was unable to get any further.

Rifle's drive started deep into its own territory, and through a constant barrage of running and short pass plays, was able to eat up the clock for the remainder of the third quarter.

But the Bulldogs refused to let the Rifle squad score and regained the ball on downs at the Moffat County 9-yard line.

A fumble after Moffat County appeared to be clawing its way out of its own territory gave the Bears the ball in the red zone.

A 12-yard pass and rejected extra point attempt cut Moffat County's lead to 15-9.

After Moffat County received the kickoff, another fumble at the 12-yard line put the Bears deep into Moffat County territory.

Rifle quarterback Joe Burgess again found his man on the right side, and netted another 6 points. The extra point was good to put Rifle ahead, 16-15.

With its next possession, Moffat County was a team possessed.

With the field goal posts too far away, Salcido took off toward the left side.

With Rifles defenders bearing down on him, he chucked the ball down the field.

"When I threw it, I thought, 'That's an interception,'" he said. "But Jasen (Kettle) was there, and he grabbed it. I have to give him all the props."

On the next fourth down, it was Salcido again, but this time, he would win the game with his legs.

Because Rifle was waiting for Moffat County to run the ball outside, coach Kip Hafey said he noticed an opening.

"We noticed they we're opening up on third and fourth down to try to contain," Hafey said. "We took a chance, and it paid off."

Hafey said his team continued to impress.

"They came ready to play," he said. "And when the going gets tough, these guys get tougher."

Salcido's 20-yard rumble capped the scoring, and for the fullback, seeing the end zone was all he needed to know of his team's chances.

"I saw that hole open up," he said, "and I knew it was over."

Comments

2KG 5 years, 3 months ago

great job Bulldog football. I understand that both the girls and boys cross country teams took first place in Grand Junction Saturday. Outstanding effort!

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