Moffat County football brushed off by Beetdiggers in 49-7 playoff loss
Coach: 'Could not be prouder' of team
If you only paid attention to the scoreboard of Moffat County High School’s final football game of the year Saturday afternoon, you might think history was repeating itself. However, the effort in that match up was far removed from the way the season began back in August, and those that will be carrying on in the sport next year will have plenty of experience to work with as they begin anew.
The Bulldogs said farewell to their chances of moving any further in the 2A state playoffs this weekend after a 49-7 defeat at Brush High School, with the day’s events at Beetdigger Stadium very much in favor of the now 10-0 home team, a division leader.
MCHS fielded the opening kick and could only manage three 1-yard runs to start the day. After the punt that started Brush at their own 32, the Beetdiggers’ star player, Kyle Rosenbrock, got the ball in hand and sprinted all the way to the end zone to take the 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
After the Bulldogs were forced to punt again, Rosenbrock again took little time to score, this time on a midfield breakaway that equated to a 58-yard rushing touchdown, the score 14-0 after six minutes of gameplay.
No sooner had MCHS gotten the ball back then they punted again, benefiting slightly from holding calls on Brush that pushed the spot of the ball from the 36 to the 16. A 32-yard run was followed by the Beetdiggers taking to the air, a reception by Niko Guzman leading him the entire 52 yards to make it 21-0.
Knowing they had to start to make their move, the Bulldogs gained some ground on the following kick, slowly making their way up, gaining little by little as Matt Hamilton, Keenan Hildebrandt, Shandon Hadley, Brett Loyd and the rest of the crew got their initial first down. Still, an intentional grounding call on Hamilton following a Brush pass rush helping to put them at a whopping first and 24 shortly before the end of the quarter.
A glimmer of hope in the 2nd quarter
A 10-yard catch by Joe Camilletti on the first play of the second quarter was neither enough for the first down, and with Moffat County just barely out of field goal range at the Beetdigger 36, Hamilton punted again, going out of bounds at the 16. The Bulldog defense bared its teeth, which slowed but didn’t stop the Brush offense, getting to the MCHS 29 on carries BJ Hirschfeld and Rosenbrock. From there, a throw to Cameron Alexander garnered another Brush score that put the Bulldogs down, 27-0, with a faulty extra point the only consolation.
Camilletti found some room up the middle on the kick return to get to Brush’s 45, but a Beetdigger sack with a loss of 5 yards and two swatted passes later, Hamilton was in punting position again, Brush all over him, blocking the punt and slamming him to the ground, looking like he might be done for the day.
Brush continued to hammer away, finally scoring on a 2-yard carry by Michael Gutierrez with the scoreboard reading 34-0 with six minutes left in the half.
Hamilton came right back into the game, as the Bulldogs began their drive from their own 32 after the kick, Brush doing all they could to get the ball back in their hands. What looked like another punt after an unsuccessful set of downs proved to be a shocker as Hamilton instead whipped it to Kearn Gerber, who took it all the way to Brush’s 28. A handoff to Loyd on the next play gave Moffat County their first points, 34-7.
“Brett did just magnificent today, he deserves a lot of credit,” coach Keith Gille said.
The Beetdiggers started from the 36 and looked like they might punt as well, their own formation fake-out enabling them to keep moving forward.
Brush’s hopes of another TD before halftime were dashed when, at the 8-yard line, a flubbed handoff hit the ground, and a mess of Bulldogs piled on it to recover the fumble at the 11, though with only seconds left, there was little that could be done.
3rd-quarter shutdown, and that’s the game
With the possibility of a comeback still alive, the Bulldogs started the final half with a squib kick by Hamilton to put Brush at the 23.
Rosenbrock must have been homesick for the goal line, because as soon as he was given the ball, he made his biggest run of the day, a 77-yard dash that made it 41-7.
“We couldn’t stop that run, Rosenbrock and Gutierrez are an amazing tandem, and their fullback will make you pay too if you don’t wrap up the gap,” Gille said.
Moffat County tried runs and passes alike, with a miracle grab by Loyd on a tipped pass to Hadley getting them to the Beetdigger 40. Hadley and Hildebrandt made small rushing gains, while good hands by Camilletti and Connor Scranton got the Bulldogs as far as the 29, but going for it on fourth down was asking too much, Hamilton getting dragged down for a loss of 16.
Brush continued its assault, getting to the red zone quickly as seconds ticked away, and with a 6-yard rushing TD by Guzman, the clock was off and running as the 40-point mercy rule was enacted, MCHS only getting hurt further as penalties called on the extra point on each team ate up precious seconds, the Beetdiggers eventually getting the two-point conversion thanks to a run by Arnoldo Maltos-Garcia that ended the third quarter.
The Bulldog offense refused to say die and was able to get into Brush territory on the following drive, but the 45 was as far as they’d go, a pass attempt for the fourth-down conversion shot down as both teams were cited for unsportsmanlike conduct after an ensuing scuffle between Camilletti and a Brush defender.
“They targeted Joe Camilletti, and he retaliated a little bit,” Gille said. “I pulled him out and talked him through it. He’s grown up a lot.”
Whatever frustration MCHS was feeling at this point at least didn’t cloud their judgment on defense, with many second-stringers stopping short the Brush run to end the game.
“They executed well, and they’re just a really good team,” Gille said about the opponents. “You get to this point, and all the teams are good.”
The still undefeated Beetdiggers will move on to meet Faith Christian in the next round of the playoffs as the season ends for the Bulldogs, who conclude their tumultuous season 4-6 overall.
Even with some elements not turning out his way, Gille said this may have been the most fun season of his 29 years of coaching, with a staff of four doing the work of eight, parents and administrators pouring forth support and players who have continued to improve from a 62-7 beginning in Rifle through their final moments.
“I could not be prouder of my Bulldogs. It brings tears to my eyes thinking that they’re done, and we’d love to finish the job in years to come,” Gille said.