Bulldogs sting Hornets | CraigDailyPress.com

Bulldogs sting Hornets

3 first-quarter touchdowns propel Moffat County

David Pressgrove

Derek Duran couldn’t miss, and the Pueblo County secondary could hit.

Moffat County High School’s junior quarterback threw three times in the opening quarter, and each pass resulted in a touchdown. Passing plays of 29 yards to senior Daniel Tague, 22 yards to junior Kevin Loughran and 24 yards to senior Jared Lowther opened up a 21-0 lead against the visiting Hornets.

Statistics don’t always tell the story of a game, but Duran’s passing numbers in the first quarter directly relate to how Moffat County dominated Pueblo County early and often for a 40-7 victory in the first round of the Class 3A football playoffs.

“We established the running game early, and they started to pull their safeties up,” Moffat County coach Kip Hafey said. “That opened up the pass and we took advantage. These kids came out and put it to Pueblo from the start.”

The Hornets had only five plays that went for positive yards in the first quarter. The longest was a 7-yard scramble by quarterback J.T. Musso.

“(Moffat County) blew up our line all day,” senior running back Joaquin Montano said. “There just weren’t any holes.” Montano especially struggled to find a hole; he rushed 12 times for 10 yards.

There were fewer chances for the Hornets to find anything in the passing game. Musso was 0-of-8, and the only hands to touch his throws belonged to Moffat County defenders.

Moffat County intercepted Musso three times, and two of the snags were returned for touchdowns. Junior Daniel Cramblett ran back an interception 63 yards for the only points in the second quarter. Senior Kellan Moore returned another throw 37 yards in the third quarter. It was the first time this season that the Bulldog defense scored twice in a game.

“I feel like we won all three phases of the game,” Hafey said. “There weren’t a lot of mistakes out there today.”

The Bulldogs didn’t play a perfect game. They had four turnovers with three fumbles and one interception. The Hornets didn’t help themselves, either, with two fumbles and three picks.

“It would have been easier to judge how we matched up with Moffat County if we hadn’t turned the ball over so much,” Hornet coach Jeff Wilson said. “But you have to give credit to them, because they forced a couple of those turnovers.”

The Hornets knew they couldn’t make mistakes if they were going to keep the score close.

“There was no way we could keep it close with five turnovers,” Wilson said.

The Moffat County locker room was understandably upbeat after the win.

“You’re always a bit nervous after you start out well, because you know that team could come back and do the same thing,” Moore said. “But I think in the third quarter, we could see that we were going to win.”

Moore and the Bulldog running backs combined for 179 yards on 39 carries. Duran finished the day 9-for-16 with 141 yards.

Senior lineman Jerry DesJardains thought he and his fellow lineman had accomplished their day’s mission.

“(Pueblo County) had a couple of good guys, but we handled them up front,” he said.

“I think we were a bit worried that we would just do OK, but we did better than that.”

Another team that did better than OK in the first round was Niwot.

The undefeated and untested Cougars scored 27 points in the second quarter on the way to a 47-2 win against Evergreen.

The Bulldogs host Niwot in the second round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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