It was not the start the Moffat County football team envisioned for its 2013 season.
The Bulldogs were strong on one side of the ball but could not get anything going when it possessed the ball, and fell to Ridge View Academy, 20-6, on Saturday in Watkins. The team dropped to 0-1 at the season opener.
The game started out in a stalemate, as both teams traded three-and-out possessions before Ridge View made the first big play, picking off a deep pass by Joe Camilletti on third and long, setting itself up near midfield. But the Moffat County defense stood tall, stopping the Rams on a fourth and goal play later in the drive.
On the ensuing possession, Moffat County lined up to punt but because of a miscommunication, tailback Brett Loyd took the snap and ran with it, while the offensive line was in a punt-blocking mindset, not a run-blocking one.
“Brett thought he had heard we were going to run it,” head coach Kip Hafey said. “It’s just one of those things. Miscommunication is going to happen. That was a bad spot for it.”
With an even shorter field to defend, the Bulldogs could not hold the Rams out of the endzone again, as they took an 8-0 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion.
The short field as a result of mistakes killed Moffat County throughout the game, as the defense stood tall throughout the game when it had some field behind it.
The Bulldogs got on the board coming out of halftime, when Brayden Peterson took the opening kick of the half 90 yards for a score, bringing the game to 8-6. Moffat County forced a punt after three plays on the ensuing possession and looked to take the lead.
But Ridge View was ready for the Moffat County offense all afternoon. The Rams turned away runs up the middle, around the end and stymied the Bulldog passing game.
“Turnovers killed us and put them in good field position,” Hafey said. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm (on offense) and couldn’t get anything going. So that was pretty much it.”
Later in the third, Moffat County again faced a third-and-long situation and threw a deep pass that was intercepted. It would have been almost as effective as a punt, but the pick was returned to the 1-yard line. The Rams would punch it in two plays later for a 14-6 lead.
Moffat County stayed within one possession for much of the fourth quarter with its defense, but never threatened to tie the game on offense.
“They got pressure on our quarterback and rushed him and we weren’t able to sustain blocks up the middle,” Hafey said. “They had some big kids.”
Ridge View would later add a touchdown on a 27-yard pass with just more than four minutes to play, sealing the deal. Hafey was proud of the effort throughout the game from his team, but said they need to do much more on offense to compete in future games.
“Joe came in and did great at quarterback,” he said. “He worked hard and did an outstanding job. All these young kids, they left it on the field today and I was proud of them. But they definitely realized the speed of the game was a big step up from last year.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org