There would be no fourth-quarter letdown this week for the Palisade football team.
A week after giving up two-touchdown lead to Glenwood Springs in the final quarter, Palisade scored three touchdowns in the final quarter to put away Moffat County, 36-6.
“I was proud of our kids last week but things didn’t go the way we wanted,” Palisade coach John Arledge said. “This week I’m proud of them because they responded and beat a good football team.”
For Moffat County, penalties and second-half mistakes overshadowed a strong first-half effort.
“We go into halftime down 8-0 and we were feeling pretty good about our half,” Moffat County head coach Kip Hafey said. “But we had too many key penalties and mistakes in the second half.”
Defensive first half
Neither team had much success moving the ball on offense in the first half. In all, there were nine punts and 104 yards in penalties.
Palisade was able to overcome 25 yards in penalties on its first scoring drive. The key play was a 25-yard pass play that was disguised as a run. The ball was pitched to quarterback Luke McLean and he hit a wide-open Jamr Rhodes for 25 yards on a third-and- 9. Three plays later, Quinn Zamora punched it into the end zone for Palisade with 3 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter. It put an end to an offensive-starved first half that had seven drives that resulted in a punt or a turnover for both teams.
In the first half, Moffat County failed to earn a first down and only had 13 more yards on offense (47) than in penalties (33).
Second-half miscues doom Bulldogs
Moffat County gained 23 yards on its first two plays of the second half and earned two first downs. But a 15-yard penalty on the next play doomed the drive.
“Our penalties all seemed to come at the worst times,” Hafey said.
Palisade didn’t stay away from penalties either. A holding penalty negated a 30-yard touchdown run by McLean on Palisade’s first possession of the second half.
The difference in the game was that Palisade was able to recover from key penalties. After the negated touchdown, the Bulldogs in maroon came back and scored four plays later. Caden Wood’s 1-yard run with 2:45 left in the second quarter put up Palisade 14-0.
The rest of the game, with the exception of a 55-yard touchdown run by Moffat County’s Braeden Sullivan to make it 22-6, belonged to Palisade.
The visitors quieted Moffat’s Homecoming crowd with an interception, a fumble recovery and a botched onside kick from the boys in blue.
Short fields allowed for Palisade’s bend-but-don’t-break offense to score twice in the last five minutes of the game.
“The game was a lot closer than the scoreboard read,” Arledge said. “Moffat is a tough, physical team and they will make some noise this year in the league if they played as tough as they did tonight the rest of the season.”
Moffat lineman Justin Benedict gave Palisade credit in the toughness category as well.
“They were a very physical team,” he said. “We kept pounding in there but I think we were worn down in the end.”
Sophomore QBs carry the load
The game showcased two sophomore quarterbacks and Mclean got the best of the showdown.
“Luke shouldered a lot for us tonight,” Arledge said. “These quarterbacks are going to give defensive coaches nightmares for a while in this league.”
McClean ran unofficially 29 times for 125 yards. He was also 8-14 passing for 112 yards.
Moffat’s Bubba Ivers had a tough night behind center. He ran 17 times for 41 yards and was 3-3 for 14 yards passing.
“I felt a lot more rushed out there tonight,” he said. “This league is not easy.”
The league won’t get any easier next week as Moffat County travels to Glenwood Springs.
“We need to regroup and go upset Glenwood,” Hafey said. “Then we’ll be in a three-way tie for first in the league.”