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Hornets power past Bulldogs in playoffs

MCHS unable to stop outside run of Pueblo County

David Pressgrove

When the seniors on the Moffat County High School football team walked out of the visitor’s locker room, it was visible that the season was over.

Red eyes, disappointed looks and lowered heads were common after the Bulldogs’ 28-11 loss to Pueblo County in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.

“We couldn’t believe it was over,” said senior running back Joe Padon. “I think we thought we had it in us to go further in the playoffs.”

For the Bulldogs, it was a game of misses. With missed tackles, the blue and white allowed 200 yards rushing and six plays that went more than 30 yards.

Missed catches at key times kept the offense in a scoring stalemate.

The Bulldogs went to the air against the Hornets as Aaron Sanchez attempted a season high 30 passes. He completed 15 of them for 194 yards, but the 15 incompletions were too many for the Bulldogs.

“Dropped balls and miscues can’t happen in the playoffs to win,” said MCHS head coach Kip Hafey. “We were ready to go to the air, just some of the key catches didn’t happen.”

From the other sideline, Pueblo County coach Jeff Wilson was pleased with his team’s effort.

“We had almost no mistakes and very few penalties,” he said. “We’ve had trouble with penalties the last few games, but (Saturday) we we’re disciplined.”

The Bulldogs were penalized six times for 50 yards while the Hornets were flagged twice for 20. Two of the Bulldogs’ penalties and 30 of the yards came on one play when the Bulldogs were called for a personal foul and then Hafey was flagged for arguing the call. The flags set up a 1-yard touchdown run by the Hornet’s Darrell Fisher with 4:37 left in the fourth quarter to put final the nail in the Bulldogs’ ’02 coffin.

The running game of the Hornets kept adding nails to the coffin. Fisher led all rushers with 126 yards on 11 carries. Three of those carries were for 30 yards or more. The Hornets’ other running back, Bobby Powers, pounded his way for 71 yards on 11 carries with one more +30-yard run.

“They were able to hook our defensive ends and get around us early in the game,” said MCHS defensive coordinator Lance Scranton. “Really, they were the first team to get in our heads defensively.”

With time winding down in the second quarter, the Hornets were ahead, 14-0, on two Powers’ touchdowns. It appeared as if the Bulldogs were going to be shut out in the first half for the third straight game, but junior place kicker Brad Hurd nailed a 48-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs some hope going into half time.

The Hornets received the ball at the beginning of the second half and drove the ball behind two of Fisher’s +30-yard runs. Wide receiver Roger Martinez scored on a reverse with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

Following the score, the Hornets made their one noticeable mistake of the game. Martinez dropped a punt that was recovered by Moffat County on the 5-yard line. The Bulldogs followed it up with a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior Eric Bastow with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown and two-point conversion brought the Bulldogs within 10 points, 21-11.

The Bulldogs were unable to score in the fourth quarter and Pueblo County earned its first playoff win in the school’s history. They move on to play Northridge, which defeated D’Evelyn, 22-13, in its first-round game.

In retrospect, the Bulldogs finished proud of the season’s accomplishments.

“Like Trevor (Sloan) said in the locker room, ‘We brought football back to Moffat County,'” said senior defensive lineman Jerry Davis. “As a senior, I hope we got things rolling for the future.”

In other Western Slope games, Palisade defeated Alamosa, 28-26, while No. 1 Rifle lost to Fountain/Fort Carson, 20-6.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.


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