Bulldogs escape wild ‘battle,’ 40-34
1st Qtr 8:00 MCHS – 7-yard TD run by Gage Spears. Kick good. 7-0
1st qtr 6:14 BMHS – 22-yard run by Reeve Sanders. Kick good. 7-0
2nd qtr 10:42 MCHS – Justin Benedict Interception 15-yard run. Point after no good. 13-7
2nd qtr 1:12 BMHS – 48-yard pass from Jake Engle to Reeve Sanders. Kick good 14-13
2nd qtr :09 BMHS – 65-yard pass from engle to Sanders. Kick good. 21-13.
3rd qtr 5:46 BMHS – 5-yard run Chris Libertini. Kick missed. 28-13.
3rd qtr 2:20 MCHS – 1-yard run Gage Spears. Kick is good. 27-20.
4th Qtr 7:24 MCHS – Bubba Ivers 15-yard run. Kick is good. 27-27.
4th Qtr 3:16 MCHS – Bubba Ivers 62-yard run. Kick is good. 34-27
4th Qtr :08 BMHS – Engle to Sanders 23-yard td. Kick is good. 34-34
OT – MCHS – 3-yard TD run, Hodge Raftopoulos. 40-34.
EDWARDS – Six Flags Denver could make a new rollercoaster ride based on the ups and downs of this game.
Maybe call it the Excite-a-tron or the Friday Night Lights Express, or even the Knock Down Dragster. Any of those rides would still be hard to capture the essence of what happened here on Friday.
After 11 touchdowns, almost 1,000 yards of offense and nearly countless big plays, Moffat County came away with a 40-34 overtime win against Battle Mountain.
“We overcame an ocean of adversity tonight,” Moffat County coach Kip Hafey said. “I’ve been coaching a long time, and with all the things we overcame tonight, it’s a great win for us.”
It wasn’t John Elway, but Battle Mountain’s No. 7, Jake Engle, might as well have been as far as the Bulldogs were concerned. Moffat County prepared all week to defend an option offense. Then Engle stepped behind center in a shotgun formation, and the ‘Dog defense began its back-pedaling.
Engle was slotted to be the Huskies’ starting quarterback all summer, but in practice leading up to the season suffered a knee injury.
“We worked all summer on being running a Texas Tech- like offense,” Battle Mountain coach David Joyce said. “Engle was cleared for contact on Wednesday and he was a little rusty to start, but he found a rhythm.”
The Huskies scored on big plays of 22, 48, 65, and 23 yards. Their only score of five yards or less came after a 15-yard pass. The Huskies also had a 75-yard touchdown and a 63-yard pass play called back on penalties.
Joyce might have nightmares in the color of yellow for a couple of days.
“Man those penalties killed us,” he said, leaving other thoughts about the calls off record.
Engle’s main target was speedster Reeve Sanders. The two connected for 12 completions and unofficially 284 yards. Engle finished with more than 350 yards passing.
“We have the two fastest kids in the league,” Joyce said, referring to Sanders and running back Libertini (14 carries, 77 yards). “We needed Engle healthy to fully take care of that.”
Moffat County jumped out to a 13-7 lead after defensive lineman caught a deflected pass and rumbled 15-yards for a touchdown with 10:42 left in the second quarter. After that the Bulldogs turned it over twice, failing to score from the red zone three times.
In the meantime Engle shook off his rustiness and brought the Huskies back. The home team scored three-unanswered touchdowns, including twice in the last 1:18 of the first half to take a 21-13 lead into halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, it really looked like it wasn’t going to be the Bulldogs’ night. For the third time a ball thrown by Engle looked to be an interception but bounced off the hands of a Bulldog defender into the hands of a Husky. A five-yard run by Libertini put the Huskies up by two scores with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Back come the Dogs
The Bulldogs stuck with their ‘Thunder’ running game, but they were able to open up with some big plays. Gage Spears took off for 54 of his 160 yards on the next drive. He then scored on a one-yard dive.
Bubba Ivers tied the game on a 15-yard run that came on fourth and inches. With 3:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, Ivers broke for a 62-yard touchdown run to retake the lead, 34-27.
But 3:16 was too much time to give the Huskies.
The Engle and Sanders show continued. The two connected three times for 54 yards, the last one a 23-yard rainbow in the corner of the end zone that seemed to elude 100 Bulldog arms. That came with eight seconds remaining in the game. The Huskies kicked the PAT to tie it 34-34.
“If I had another timeout, I would have gone for two,” Joyce said. “But, we didn’t have a chance to get the play in that we wanted and had to kick.”
‘Built for overtime’
The Huskies had first possession in overtime and weren’t accustomed to such a short field. Only one of their previous scores came from inside the 20. The Bulldog defense stiffened and allowed only one yard in four plays.
“We had to step it up,” senior Zach Raftopoulos said. “It had been ugly in the secondary all night.”
Moffat County’s Thunder offense was too much for the Huskies to handle. Hodge Raftopoulos finished the overtime with a three-yard dive.
The Bulldogs finished with more than 350 yards on the ground.
“(Moffat County) was built for over for overtime,” Joyce said. “We couldn’t come up with a stop.”
The win keeps the Bulldogs chances for a playoff spot alive. It probably also sends out a warning to the rest of the Western Slope League that Battle Mountain can score points.
“We had a lot of young kids rise to the occasion tonight,” Hafey said. “They are going to have to the rest of the season for us to do what we want.”