It’s not easy beating Green
Bulldogs find tough time against big Wyoming team in season opener
First game jitters and some mental mistakes left the Moffat County Bulldogs powerless against the strength and speed of the Wolves from Green River, Wyo., Friday night.
The Bulldogs’ home opener ended in a disappointing 43-7 defeat.
Senior quarterback Aaron Sanchez said he blames himself for the team’s lack of offensive drive.
“If the offense doesn’t move, I’m not doing everything I should be,” Sanchez said.
Bulldogs coach Kip Hafey said it’s natural for a leader like Sanchez to expect so much of himself.
“He’s a tough kid who prides himself on being an offensive leader,” Hafey said.
The senior quarterback said he “didn’t find a rhythm.”
“I had a little happy feet in the pocket,” Sanchez said, adding, “It’s all very fixable.”
The defense had trouble as well, allowing Green River’s Casey Cutler to rush for more than 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Hafey said Green River used inside traps on the guards and ends to open up holes so they could exploit their size and speed.
The first score of the game came with five minutes remaining in the first quarter when Cutler pushed the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard run up the middle.
Green River missed the extra-point attempt, and the second quarter began with the score 6-0.
Moffat County saw some light in the second quarter when the ‘Dogs faked a punt and Sanchez passed to senior receiver Cody Palmer for a 25-yard gain. The key play was called back on a penalty, though, which got a rise out of Hafey. Officials penalized him for unsportsman-like conduct.
Green River took over in Moffat County territory. A few plays later, the Wolves’ senior quarterback Chip Eklund ran for 13 yards to the Moffat County 12-yard line.
Two plays later, Eklund pitched the ball out to the right where Cutler took it in for his second touchdown.
After scoring the 2-point conversion, Green River headed to the locker room at halftime with a commanding 14-0 lead.
The wind died down in the second half, which promised to help Moffat County’s passing game.
Early in the third quarter, Sanchez connected with Palmer for 19 yards. Marching into Green River territory, the ‘Dogs made several solid offensive plays. Sanchez ran a six-yard keeper that set up a pass to junior tailback Scott Garoutte for a first down.
The ‘Dogs moved the ball well and seemed to be establishing a rhythm finally, when a fumble on a big third-down play deep in Green River territory halted the drive.
Green River was not able to capitalize on the fumble but the Wolves scored again in the third when Eklund connected with junior Mike Brown on a 26-yard touchdown pass.
With 2:13 left in the third, the touchdown solidified the Wolves’ 20-point lead.
On the ‘Dogs next possession, the team twice handed the ball to sophomore Derek Duran. The former freshman quarterback looked to pass downfield but was tackled in the backfield on consecutive plays, resulting in big losses for Moffat County.
Early in the fourth quarter, Green River scored again when Brown ran 30 yards for a his second touchdown of the game.
Green River held Moffat County scoreless until Duran grabbed an inside handoff and ran 26 yards for the ‘Dogs’ only touchdown of the game.
The fourth quarter ended with more of the same. Green River’s big runners continued to push through the ‘Dogs’ line for big yardage.
An explosive 20-yard run around the right end by Green River’s Mike Brown set up Cutler for his third touchdown.
Later, Green River junior Tyrell Anderson ran the ball 35 yards, setting himself up for a 9-yard touchdown run two plays later that put the Wolves further ahead, leading 42-7. The extra point attempt was good, finalizing the 43-7 victory.
Jason Fuss, Green River’s first-year coach was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We played awesome, minus the penalties,” he told his team after the game.
Most of the penalties, he said, came from the players’ eagerness to “get off the ball and try to be fast.”
He praised his offensive line for opening up the running game.
The team owes its 250 rushing yards to the efforts of those blockers and the giant ball carriers who piled up yardage.
Anderson, at 205 pounds, and Cutler, at 192 pounds proved to be a difficult force against the ‘Dogs’ defense.
Senior defensive back Kelvin Grinolds said, “Our defense did good except against the run. Their fullbacks and tailbacks were huge.”
Grinolds said he even missed a few tackles, slipping off the powerful runners. He said the big blockers were getting through to the linebackers, giving the Wolves’ running game a boost.
Moffat County’s failure to manufacture points nearly handed Green River a shutout.
The team had trouble executing the game plan, which stifled the offensive attack.
The team not only lined up in wrong formations and lined up off sides, they had trouble with the snap count, resulting in several illegal motion penalties.
Hafey said this week the team will try to iron out those mistakes and work on the current plays and formations without adding anything new to the mix.
“We need to stand up and refocus this week, lift our heads and get it done,” Hafey said. “We’re a good team. But to be a great team, we need to eliminate mental mistakes and execute.”
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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