Bulldogs tear into Huskies, 28-13
In the last seven conference games, the Moffat County High School (MCHS) varsity team has seen blowouts, narrow victories, defensive struggles and offensive shootouts.
The common denominator is the Bulldogs have found enough ways to win five of those games to clinch their second playoff spot in as many years.
On Friday in Craig, MCHS combined a stifling defensive effort with a conservative, ball-control offense to beat the Battle Mountain Huskies, 28-13, to close the regular season.
The Bulldogs finished the year at 6-4 overall and 5-2 in league play. The Huskies ended the year 0-10 on the season and 0-7 in conference play.
“We played flat for most of the game and we didn’t play with much emotion,” said Bulldogs coach John Haddan. “We didn’t execute well, but we survived. Battle Mountain played hard and they had a good offensive scheme. They did a great job.”
Battle Mountain took the opening kickoff and ran two plays before the Bulldogs recovered a fumble at the Huskies 23-yard line.
Three plays later, running back Frank Counts, a senior, found the end zone from the 1-yard line. Sophomore kicker Chris Field’s extra point was blocked and the Bulldogs held a 6-0 lead at 9 minutes and 49 seconds in the first quarter.
With 34 seconds left in the opening period, the Huskies tied the game when running back Ben Pereida, a senior, dove over from the 1-yard line. Kicker Jared Cliver, a freshman, nailed the extra point to put Battle Mountain out in front, 7-6.
The Bulldogs struck back when quarterback Jeff Gaylord, a junior, rumbled 54-yards giving MCHS a 12-7 lead with 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs went for two and Gaylord converted the conversion by running in from the right side and MCHS was up, 14-7, with three periods to play.
In the second quarter the only scoring was a 27-yard interception return by Huskies defensive back Kyle Ferguson, a junior, at the 2:29 mark. The Huskies missed the extra point and the Bulldogs took a 14-13 lead into halftime.
“Our kids fought hard and gave it their all,” said Huskies coach Scott Wiedemann. “Moffat County is a good football team and they are well coached. They just outmanned us tonight.”
It was all Bulldogs in the second half.
At the end of the third period, Counts ran in a touchdown from 30 yards out. The Bulldogs went for two and Counts converted it by running around the left side for a 22-13 lead.
“We came out really flat and we got a rude awakening in the first half,” said linebacker Kevin Field. “At halftime we just came in and got things straightened out. We came out in the third quarter with more emotion and we just held them.”
In the final quarter, running back Matt Johnston, a senior, ended the Bulldogs scoring by bursting over the goal line from 1 yard out with seven seconds left in the game. The extra point was missed and the Bulldogs held what would be the final score, 28-13.
“I have been playing running back for the last three weeks,” said Johnston. “With Counts playing behind me he makes me look good. I thought that the Huskies would be a lot easier. The Huskies are a lot tougher than I thought they would be.”
For the Bulldogs defense Kevin Field finished the game with 25 tackles, one quarterback sack and had one fumble recovery. Senior defensive lineman Kurtis Kostur and Counts ended up with 13 tackles each. Johnston made 12 tackles and Coalin Hume, a senior, finished with nine tackles and three quarterback sacks. Defensive back Kevin Voorhees, a junior, had two interceptions and seven tackles.
On the offensive side, Counts racked up 209 yards on the ground while the Bulldogs finished with 351 total yards. Gaylord finished with 65 yards rushing and he was 4 of 10 in the air for 34 yards. Voorhees finished with two receptions.
MCHS will be in action at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the playoffs on the road against the Eaton Reds. The Reds finished the year with an 8-2 mark.
“We have a lot of work to do this week,” said Haddan. “We can’t show up like we did tonight against a team like Eaton. We have a lot of hard work to do. We look forward to traveling to Eaton and playing.”
Emergency personnel responded to a motorcycle crash that sent a rider to the hospital Tuesday.