Bulldogs lose cool, lose game
Eagle Valley beats Moffat County, 20-6, at homecoming
Craig — The Bulldog football team had the ball down, 7-6.
They had first and goal, 2 yards away from pay dirt.
Then there was a flag against them.
Then a turnover.
Next thing you know, they were down by seven.
In less than two minutes, the Bulldogs’ comeback attempt ended in a 13-point swing that resulted in a 20-6 loss to the Devils on Moffat County’s homecoming night.
“It’s totally unacceptable,” Bulldog coach Kip Hafey said. “Stupid mistake. Stupid penalty. That lost us the game.”
Moffat County fought hard all night, despite having to chase Eagle Valley’s Nick Whitehead around the field.
Whitehead – 29 carries, 265 yards and two touchdowns- opened up the game running for a 35-yard jaunt around right tackle on the first play, indicating the type of game in store for the Bulldog defense. The Devils rode Whitehead’s 95 yards rushing in the first quarter, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run through the center of the Bulldog defense, for an early 7-0 lead.
The Moffat County defense stiffened, holding the Devils to three plays-and-out on the next Eagle Valley possession.
The Bulldogs then went to the air.
Quarterback Jake Bricker completed consecutive first down passes to Eli Buckner and Matt Kincheloe, resulting in Moffat County’s first points of the contest.
A 25 yard punt return by sophomore Jasen Kettle and a 15 yard yard face-mask penalty on the play by the Devils, set the Bulldogs up in prime field position, on the Eagle Valley 42-yard line.
Bricker rolled out to his right, connecting with Buckner on a 19-yard pass good for a Bulldog first down. Bricker then hit Kincheloe in stride for another 11 yards.
Hafey called Buckner’s number again, this time the fullback bullied his way through the Devil defense for a 5-yard touchdown run. The ensuing extra point failed and the Bulldogs pulled within one.
“Buckner played really hard,” Hafey said. “He went over 100 percent all night.”
Less than one minute before halftime, the Devils completed a hook and ladder play to Whitehead good for 33 yards. Consecutive sacks by Travis Wilson and Robert Daniels shut down Eagle Valley’s drive and kept the lead to one point at the break.
Coming out of the half, Moffat County completed two critical first downs, but the Bulldogs could not maintain the offensive momentum.
Eagle Valley answered behind the running of Whitehead once again, pushing down to the Bulldog 15-yard line. Austin Hill stuffed Whitehead on third down and the Bulldogs swarmed the Devil’s fourth down attempt taking over on their own 10 yard line.
Buckner plowed through the left side of the Devil defense for 49 yards setting up Moffat County on the Eagle Valley 25-yard line. A facemask penalty against the Devils and a steady diet of Buckner put Moffat County at first and goal from the 2-yard line.
The game took a drastic turn from there.
The Bulldogs lost discipline and seven points for the offense, turned into six points against the defense.
The Bulldogs were hit with a personal foul and a 15-yard penalty.
“It was a retaliation penalty,” Hafey said. “They hit us and we hit back. The problem is that the second guy got caught and that was us.”
Bricker fumbled on an option pitch to Kincheloe on the next play and Moffat County turned the ball over.
The Devils charged down the field scoring in less than two minutes, but a botched extra point kept the Bulldogs within a touchdown.
“There was a lot of flags on both sides,” Devils coach John Ramunno said. “It was a tough break for them, but it was a hard fought game.”
A failed forth and one resulted in a Moffat County turnover at midfield.
Eagle Valley drove down the field with their tight double wing formation chewing up yards on the tired Bulldogs defense. Fullback John Crawford scored from 1 yard out putting Moffat County in a 14 point hole from which it would never recover.
Hafey was forced to attack through the air once more, but Bricker was sacked after three consecutive incomplete passes, and the Bulldogs drive stalled.
The Devils tallied 381 yards on the ground to the Bulldogs 166.
With five minutes left to play, Bricker connected with Buckner on a 42 yard screen pass keeping the homecoming fans on their feet in the stands. Moffat County’s offense could not sustain the pressure faltering once again turning the ball over on fourth down and Eagle Valley ran out the clock on the Bulldogs homecoming celebration.
The Bulldogs (2-2 overall, 1-2 Western Slope League) travel to Steamboat Friday.
“We have to get ready,” Hafey said. “There is a lot of season left to go.”