Moffat County football falls in conference-deciding game in Basalt | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County football falls in conference-deciding game in Basalt

Moffat County High School football lines up against the Basalt Longhorns Friday night. The Bulldogs fell, 20-8.

Basalt — In a season that has been full of injuries and close calls, Moffat County High School football had what may have been one of the biggest blows yet this year. — In a season that has been full of injuries and close calls, Moffat County High School football had what may have been one of the biggest blows yet this year.

— In a season that has been full of injuries and close calls, Moffat County High School football had what may have been one of the biggest blows yet this year.

MCHS lost, 20-8, to the Basalt Longhorns in a Friday night fracas that saw the Bulldogs fight until the very end.

Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Basalt

Team — 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final

MCHS — 8 0 0 0 8

Basalt — 7 0 6 7 20

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Basalt was aching for the chance to finally defeat Moffat County after two years of being denied the chance to move on to the playoffs, particularly from 2015 when the pair were the most likely candidates to advance to the postseason. Friday put the Longhorns at 4-0 in Western Slope League play and made them the heir apparent to the conference championship, but not without a Bulldog fight.

Moffat County took the opening kick, and both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives. No sooner had the Bulldogs gotten the ball back when Tai Kim picked off a pass by Keenan Hildebrandt and shortly after Will Chadbourne beat the Bulldog pass coverage with a 55-yard reception to earn Basalt their first touchdown after about four minutes of play.

The Dogs couldn’t make much happen on the next possession, but when the Longhorns next had the ball, a sack of quarterback miles Levy resulted in a fumble to give it to Moffat County at the Basalt 27-yard line.

With the crowd in blue and white chanting “ground-and-pound,” running back Eddie Smercina sprung to life, eventually getting his team a touchdown from two yards as well as the two-point conversion with about 40 seconds left in the first quarter, leading 8-7, which the Dogs would keep going into halftime during a highly defensive second quarter.

With both teams hitting hard there were bound to be some casualties, and Frankie Masterson had to be taken off the field with a possible injury to his left hamstring.

However, Masterson was certain at halftime that his team could finish the game with the win.

“I’m confident in them,” he said. “We always have to feel them out, to see who they are.”

The second half did not go as well.

An onside kick attempt round up giving Basalt the field position they needed to strike again.

Shortly after, Kyle Roberts took the go-ahead touchdown with a three-yard catch, though the Longhorns were unable to make the conversion.

As the Bulldog offense prepared to retaliate, they were soon short another player, as Miki Klimper was pulled off with an injured foot, and the team soon had to punt again.

The Basalt rush game looked to be scoring again when suddenly another fumble occurred right near the end zone, the ball going out of bounds with no one grabbing it, giving the Bulldogs possession and a touchback.

From the 20, solid rushes by Smercina and Kaden Hafey pushed Moffat County near but not quite into the red zone, unable to flip it once they got to fourth down.

Levy and his crew of Longhorns continued to stampede over the Bulldogs, and eventually the quarterback was able to score himself when pushing it in from 2 yards.

On the following kickoff, Cale Scranton fielded the ball and promptly handed it off to Smercina, who ran a serpentine route all the way to the Longhorn 29.

With less than five minutes left the Dogs’ attempts to conserve the clock depended on Hildebrandt’s arm, but the air attack was not in the cards with the exception of a catch by Scranton with no gain on 4th and 10 to again give Basalt the ball.

After getting comfortably into the Moffat County territory Levy repeatedly took a knee and soon it was all over.

Head coach Keith Gille said there was no shame in his players’ loss with a fierce effort behind it, as the Dogs move to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in WSL.

“All credit goes to Basalt,” he said. “They really wanted to take that championship from us. They’ve been waiting for two years.”

Basalt officially earns the title with an Oct. 28. win against Roaring Fork, the same night MCHS will be back at home hosting Aspen.

The evening will be Senior Night plus a pink game with player jerseys still available for sponsorship.

Gille said he hopes everyone across Craig will come out for the Bulldogs’ final game and to support the team in likewise supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Thanks to everyone who comes out for our kids,” he said.

Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Basalt

Team — 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final

MCHS — 8 0 0 0 8

Basalt — 7 0 6 7 20