Moffat County beats Battle Mountain 24-7 for league win | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County beats Battle Mountain 24-7 for league win

Moffat County High School quarterback Keenan Hildebrandt looks to pitch the ball out during the Bulldogs' game against Steamboat Springs. MCHS won its first conference game Friday night in Edwards, defeating the Battle Mountain Huskies, 24-7.

Upon visiting the team that spoiled their Homecoming ceremonies last year, the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School varsity football team thought it was only fair to even up the score. varsity football team thought it was only fair to even up the score.

Moffat County High School varsity football team thought it was only fair to even up the score.

The Bulldogs won their Western Slope North League opener Friday night with a 24-7 defeat of the Battle Mountain Huskies in Edwards that improved them to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the 2A WSNL3-2 overall and 1-0 in the 2A WSNL..

3-2 overall and 1-0 in the 2A WSNL.

It wasn't going to be an easy one, coach Keith Gille told them earlier in the week, but "representing the silver helmet" is not for the faint of heart.

"It's not a sprint, it's a flippin' marathon," he told players during practice Wednesday.

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The phrasing was almost prophetic — the Bulldogs couldn't make much of their first set of downs, and things got worse with a bad snap on the punt attempt that gave it to the Huskies on the 12. It took no time for Battle Mountain quarterback Demetrius Parrish to march it forward and then score his team's first league touchdown himself from the goal line.

Another MCHS fumble had Gille concerned, but following a timeout he called, the Huskies' fortune changed and Moffat County pacing paid off as the Huskies' own bad snap lost them 20 yards in the blink of an eye and forced the field goal attempt, which the Dogs blocked and recovered.

Moving quickly, Moffat County got its first score from a 2-yard run by Shandon Hadley, and going from there defense flummoxed Battle Mountain.

As Isaac Montoya replaced Keenan Hildebrandt at QB, the offensive effort was able to convert the third down again and again until they got to the Huskies' 40, when a fake handoff worked wonders as Eddie Smercina took the ball on another trip to the end zone to take the lead, though a two-point conversion didn't happen, keeping it 12-7 at the half.

Any fears the Dogs had from that point were completely unapparent — a Mikinzie Klimper interception started the third quarter, and though things were quiet from there, it wasn't long until Hildebrandt powered through the Husky D to score on a 31-yard run up the middle.

Moffat County sent Parrish crashing to the ground repeatedly, as Hildy, Hugo Hernandez and Kaden Hafey all racked up some sack credits, making sure Battle Mountain had no chance to make any big plays. Offense kept at it slow and steady with the occasional huge run, including another sideline-skimmer by Smercina that got them to 1 as he was pushed out of bounds, with Brett Loyd claiming the TD.

Smercina led rushing with 158 yards, Hildy 74, Loyd 56 and Hadley 31, each of them scoring once across each quarter of the game.

"It was a lot of fun, couldn't be prouder of them," Gille said. "I love how our kids overcame adversity on the road, that's the sign of a good team."

Besides shutting down Parrish's passing game, allowing him only 35 yards on throws the MCHS defense also saw little resistance from Wyatt Harwood, who was the league's top rusher going into the game — according to statistics compilation site MaxPrepsaccording to statistics compilation site MaxPreps — picking up only seven yards this time. — picking up only seven yards this time.

according to statistics compilation site MaxPreps — picking up only seven yards this time.

Now 1-3 and 0-1, Battle Mountain swept the WSNL last year as part of their 6-3 overall record that brought them within reach of the 3A playoffs, their unusual status as the biggest school in the conference neither getting them to the postseason nor eligible for the league champion title, which went to the Bulldogs.

Moffat County returns home for the first of three league home games at the Bulldog Proving Grounds, playing Basalt — 2-3 overall, 1-0 WSNL — for their Homecoming, back on the road for Coal Ridge — 2-3, 0-1 — Oct. 16, then on home turf to host Aspen — 2-3, 0-1 — Oct. 23 and Roaring Fork — 3-2, 1-0 — Oct. 30.

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.

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