Football playoffs: Moffat County falls to Brush, 48-27 | CraigDailyPress.com

Football playoffs: Moffat County falls to Brush, 48-27

Strong second half for Dogs can’t overcome 21-0 Beetdigger first quarter

The Moffat County High School varsity football team looks to score late in the game Saturday against the Brush Beetdiggers at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. The Bulldogs lost their second consecutive playoff matchup with Brush, 48-27.

In a face-off between old adversaries, the same team stayed in front, but it was a much more exciting match this year.

Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Brush

Team — 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final

MCHS — 0 14 7 6 27

Brush — 21 20 0 7 48

Moffat County Statistics

Rushing

Eddie Smercina — 134 yards, 15 carries, 2 TDs

Brett Loyd — 57 yards, 11 carries

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Shandon Hadley — 51 yards, 11 carries, 1 TD

Keenan Hildebrandt — 32 yards, 13 carries, 1 TD

Passing

Keenan Hildebrandt — 140 yards, 7 for 14

Receiving

Kearn Gerber — 78 yards, 4 catches

Dylan Kincade — 46 yards, 2 catches

Eddie Smercina — 16 yards, 1 catch

Tackles

Hugo Hernandez — 11, 2 solo

Mikinzie Klimper — 11, 2 solo

Stelios Peroulis — 10, 3 solo

Brett Loyd — 8, 4 solo

Keenan Hildebrandt — 7, 2 solo

Kearn Gerber — 7, 1 solo

John T Peroulis — 4

Eddie Smercina — 4

Brady Springer — 4

Shandon Hadley — 2, 1 solo

Chace Marshall — 1 solo

Chase Peed — 1 solo

Connor Scranton — 1 solo

Ryan Zimmerman — 1

Kicks, punts

Brett Loyd — 129 kickoff yards, 127 punting yards, 59 kick return yards, 1 PAT

Dylan Kincade — 72 kick return yards

Eddie Smercina — 6 kick return yards

Kearn Gerber — 5 punt return yards

Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School varsity football lost its opening round Saturday game of the 2A State Playoffs, falling, 48-27, to the Brush Beetdiggers. varsity football lost its opening round Saturday game of the 2A State Playoffs, falling, 48-27, to the Brush Beetdiggers.

Moffat County High School varsity football lost its opening round Saturday game of the 2A State Playoffs, falling, 48-27, to the Brush Beetdiggers.

Brush's Clay Shaver proved a threat early on, as the Diggers scored twice quickly in the first quarter, on six-yard and 16-yard carries, respectively, while Brush quarterback Arnoldo Maltos-Garcia snuck it in from the 1-yard line to put them at 21-0 in the first, the QB gaining another rushing score from 25 early in the second quarter, then going on to throw it to BJ Hirschfeld for a 32-yard TD catch seconds after Brush recovered a Bulldog fumble.

"I think we came in a little, not cocky, but unprepared for what they had," said MCHS junior Ryan Zimmerman.

Moffat County was down but not out, as Eddie Smercina exploited a small gap in the Brush defensive line at the Dogs' 38, only to make it all the way to the end zone to make it 28-6.

Shaver wasted no time making it another five-TD lead, charging in from the 45, but on the following drive, MCHS receivers Dylan Kincade and Kearn Gerber made back-to-back grabs for 36 and 11 yards, respectively, to get the Dogs as far as the 7, with Shandon Hadley eventually running up the middle for three yards and six points, Keenan Hildebrandt taking the two-point conversion to make it 41-14 at halftime, a recovery by Nathan Baker on the onside kick a great sign with not enough time to make something happen.

The third quarter saw Moffat County reinvigorated, another big catch by Gerber for 46 — plus a Brush penalty — taking them to the 12, and it wasn't long before Hildy racked up his 13th running TD of the season with a QB sneak from 1.

"I was really impressed with the way Moffat County hung in there and kept battling," said Brush head coach Reid Kahl, noting the second half shutdown of his players' running game. "You just never know what to expect in the playoffs."

The stunned Beetdiggers were left scoreless in the third, with a fake punt-turned huge run by Brett Loyd getting the best of them, but a denial of another Bulldog score to start the fourth showed they were in no mood to be knocked out in the first round.

MCHS defense kept them in their own territory, but a punt return went wrong to give Brush the fumble recovery right at the 2, making it a cakewalk for Aaron Williams to get their final TD.

Smercina would run in another one for the last points of the day, this time from 6, but even with another successful onside kick recovery by the Bulldogs, the deficit was far too great and the clock's reading too small.

Moffat County nonetheless finished the experience with the traditional school song in front of the home stands.

Shaver led the day in rushing with 193 yards on 19 carries, though Smercina joined him in the Four-Digit Club, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark on the year with 134 yards rushing on 15 carries and 16 receiving from one catch, taking the longest run of the day, as well, at 62 yards.

Hildebrandt ran for 32 and threw seven for 14 for 140, while fellow backs Loyd and Hadley rushed for 57 and 51 to bring the ground tally to 274. Gerber had four catches for 78 yards and Kincade two for 46.

Baker and Chace Marshall were each credited with a fumble recovery, while Mikinzie Klimper and Hugo Hernandez led the Dogs in tackles, each with 11 total, and Stelios Peroulis ended his MCHS career with 10 for the day.

The Beetdiggers had 326 total yards in their run game, 43 for Hirschfeld, 41 for Maltos-Garcia and 35 for Jeron Petterson.

Maltos-Garcia — who threw three for five for 72 yards — was the hardest hitter with 12 tackles and one sack, 11 for Reid Hall and nine for Raymond Miller, while Tristan Volk and Randy Woodward teamed on a sack. Miller and Shaver also each recovered a fumble.

The day — which included a flag ceremony by veterans of the local Color Guard and performances by the band program and MCHS and Craig Middle School cheer squads — ended with both sides 7-3 as ninth-seeded Brush prepares to move on to face No. 1 2A team Bayfield — winners of a 40-0 rout of Manitou Springs — at home next week, the Diggers taking their lickings from a team they beat 49-7 last season en route to a state championship.

Defending the title against the Wolverines will be the toughest challenge yet for this season.

"I'm just glad they're coming to Brush, we're excited about that," Kahl said.

MCHS coaches said the Dogs have nothing to hang their heads about this year, staying right in step with Brush after first-quarter jitters.

"We need to learn how to come out more aggressive because it took us time to learn that we could play with them, and by then we were already down," head coach Keith Gille said.

Assistant coach Jeff Wert agreed, singling out the older guys on the gridiron for their contributions in their final high school game.

"I'm so proud of how the senior leadership has stepped up," he said.

The season has been a learning experience each week, Gille added, with the head of the program picking up as much as the players.

"They've made me a better man, and any time in life you have a group of kids that can teach you, that's huge," he said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Brush

Team — 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final

MCHS — 0 14 7 6 27

Brush — 21 20 0 7 48

Moffat County Statistics

Rushing

Eddie Smercina — 134 yards, 15 carries, 2 TDs

Brett Loyd — 57 yards, 11 carries

Shandon Hadley — 51 yards, 11 carries, 1 TD

Keenan Hildebrandt — 32 yards, 13 carries, 1 TD

Passing

Keenan Hildebrandt — 140 yards, 7 for 14

Receiving

Kearn Gerber — 78 yards, 4 catches

Dylan Kincade — 46 yards, 2 catches

Eddie Smercina — 16 yards, 1 catch

Tackles

Hugo Hernandez — 11, 2 solo

Mikinzie Klimper — 11, 2 solo

Stelios Peroulis — 10, 3 solo

Brett Loyd — 8, 4 solo

Keenan Hildebrandt — 7, 2 solo

Kearn Gerber — 7, 1 solo

John T Peroulis — 4

Eddie Smercina — 4

Brady Springer — 4

Shandon Hadley — 2, 1 solo

Chace Marshall — 1 solo

Chase Peed — 1 solo

Connor Scranton — 1 solo

Ryan Zimmerman — 1

Kicks, punts

Brett Loyd — 129 kickoff yards, 127 punting yards, 59 kick return yards, 1 PAT

Dylan Kincade — 72 kick return yards

Eddie Smercina — 6 kick return yards

Kearn Gerber — 5 punt return yards

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