Big plays burn football team |

Big plays burn football team

For a good summary of how the Moffat County football team’s season has gone, just read how senior Derek Duran described his team’s effort against Pueblo West.

“We would make the right plays and then make one mental mistake,” he said. “We had them where we wanted them, and the one play made the difference.”

The Cyclones converted their opponents’ mental mistakes into big plays. West scored touchdowns of 89, 25, 30 and 34 yards to defeat the Bulldogs, 37-20. Even without star running back Justin Jackson the second half, the Cyclones held off the Bulldogs for the win.

“We had struggled on offense the last couple of games,” West coach Monte Pinkerton said. “But tonight our quarterback threw the ball well and we made some big plays.”

The Cyclones were coming in on a three-game losing streak. The long road trip didn’t help either, but they made the plays Friday.

It started off different as the Bulldogs opened up the game as the dominant team. They drove 73 yards in 10 plays to score. The drive was kept alive when Duran hit senior Daniel Cramblett on a fake punt for a 20-yard pass. JT Haddan put his team up 6-0 with a 1-yard run at 8 minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The Cyc–lones an—-swered back with a long drive. Jackson carried the ball eight times for 50 yards, but the Bulldog defense held the Cyclones on third down on their 4-yard line. West lined up and made a field goal but the Bulldogs were offside to give the Cyclones another chance. On the next play, quarterback Jerry Denogean hit Austen Novak for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs drove the ball again on their next drive, but on a play reminiscent of the overtime loss to Steam–boat, Duran was stopped inches short of the touchdown on fourth down.

Then came the turning point of the game.

Three plays into West’s next drive Denogean hit a speedy Austen Novak for an 89-yard touchdown pass.

The Cyclones would add another big touchdown play with a 25-yard pass to tight end Mike Maroney to go up 21-6 in the second quarter. That was the score at halftime.

In the second half the Bulldogs came within 10 points twice with two touchdown runs from Haddan, but West answered each time with touchdowns of its own.

“The big plays were our demise,” coach Kip Hafey said. “Then our offense needed to put more points on the board.”

The Bulldog offense moved the ball but couldn’t find the end zone. Duran was 19-33 for 224 yards.

“The line gave me time tonight,” he said. “It felt good to air it out.”

In the first half, dropped passes cost the Bulldogs.

“Huge plays and dropped balls cost us,” Hafey said. “Those need to be made for us to win.”

Duran spread the ball out to six different receivers.

The Cyclones had to adjust without Jackson, the third leading rusher in Class 3A, who suffered an arm injury, and they did so by going to the air. Denogean threw for more than 200 yards as well. Although the 89-yarder helped cushion those stats.

“We adjusted without (Jackson) well,” Pinkerton said.

The win made the long trip back home easier for the Cyclones.

“Our playoff hopes ended just like the Bulldogs’ last week,” Pinkerton said. “It was all about pride, and I thought our guys stepped up to that tonight.”

The Bulldogs’ slim chances of still making the playoffs ended Friday because Rifle defeated Montezuma-Cortez, 41-14. Next week, the trip to Cortez will be solely to send the seniors out with a win.

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