Moffat County football falls to Battle Mountain in Homecoming game, 41-27 | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County football falls to Battle Mountain in Homecoming game, 41-27

Moffat County High School sophomore Eddie Smercina (44) shows fierce defense against Battle Mountain during MCHS varsity football's game Friday night. The Bulldogs lost, 41-27, in their Homecoming game.

The Bulldogs put up a strong fight against the Huskies in an exciting game at Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds on Friday night, where a helicopter landed on the football field and fireworks lit the sky.

Yet, the MCHS Bulldogs varsity football team lost, 41-27, in its game against Battle Mountain despite many strengths and a roaring crowd that was standing room only.

Both teams got out to a slow start, forcing punts back and forth, one of which Moffat County fumbled and failed to come up with to give the Huskies an easy go-ahead for their first touchdown pass.

An interception by Shandon Hadley got the fans on their feet, and with less than one minute in the first quarter, a 15-yard reception reeled in by Kearn Gerber got MCHS on the board, tied at 7.

A 21-yard field goal in the second quarter put Battle Mountain back in the lead, but the Bulldogs were soon back in the game when Hadley dove into the end zone shortly after an MCHS fumble recovery gave them the break they needed. However, Matt Hamilton's extra point was blocked, putting a damper on the celebration at 13-10.

The Huskies immediately responded with a kick return of more than 80 yards, taking back the lead, 17-13.

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Gerber grabbed another pass minutes later to put the Bulldogs at 20-17, but this was the last the team would be ahead for the rest of the game.

As Battle Mountain got back into scoring position in the final seconds of the first half, the Bulldog defense was penalized twice for pass interference, bringing them closer and closer to the goal line.

And, the third time was the charm for the Huskies, a quick pass starting halftime at 24-20.

Head Coach Keith Gille would say after the game that such instances may have shown that players were "a little overeager."

A Beatles medley by the MCHS band, a cheerleader dance routine, a lap around the track with the Homecoming floats and more fireworks provided by Moffat County Booster Club and local firefighters entertained the crowd as the Bulldogs stomped back onto the field ready to claim victory.

A long drive by MCHS ate up half the third quarter, reaching the 15-yardline and failing to convert. Battle Mountain couldn't make much progress against a protective, almost angry defense, but their punt did the trick, bouncing off Keenan Hildebrandt's chest for their recovery, ultimately leading them to a 36-yard field goal.

The Huskies scored soon in the fourth, making it 34-20, but Bulldog Brett Loyd would not be stopped, and once in the red zone, he smashed right through the middle to get a 15-yard rush and a touchdown for a 34-27 tally with three minutes remaining in the game.

However, any hope of a rally died down with a 45-yard touchdown run by Battle Mountain on the play following an unsuccessful onside kick.

Moffat County got the ball back only to have the final nail in the coffin hammered in when Husky Demetrius Parrish snatched Hamilton's attempted pass to Connor Scranton, ensuring a Bulldog defeat.

"They've got a heck of a team and some great players," Gille said of Battle Mountain. "They played a little smarter than us tonight."

Gille said if not for some of the mishaps that he hopes to adjust on special teams, things would have been much different.

"I'm real proud of the way they played, we did a lot of things right, and the community has been so supportive this week," he said. "I'm just sorry we couldn't get it done tonight."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.