Moffat County football falls to Rawlins in first game | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County football falls to Rawlins in first game

Outlaws pull ahead in final seconds to beat Bulldogs 15-12

Moffat County High School's Mikinzie Klimper stays with his man in Rawlins, Wyoming, Friday night during the Bulldogs' season opener against the Outlaws. MCHS lost, 15-12.

Rawlins, Wyo. — The first game of the season started rough for the Bulldogs, then got better and suddenly had victory snatched away at the last second. — The first game of the season started rough for the Bulldogs, then got better and suddenly had victory snatched away at the last second.

— The first game of the season started rough for the Bulldogs, then got better and suddenly had victory snatched away at the last second.

Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School varsity football took to the turf Friday night on the road in Rawlins, Wyoming, the first meeting since 2008 for the nearby schools. When last the Bulldogs and Outlaws squared off, the result was 26-16 in Moffat County’s favor, yet Rawlins claimed a win this time in the gridiron matchup, 15-12. varsity football took to the turf Friday night on the road in Rawlins, Wyoming, the first meeting since 2008 for the nearby schools. When last the Bulldogs and Outlaws squared off, the result was 26-16 in Moffat County's favor, yet Rawlins claimed a win this time in the gridiron matchup, 15-12.

Moffat County High School varsity football took to the turf Friday night on the road in Rawlins, Wyoming, the first meeting since 2008 for the nearby schools. When last the Bulldogs and Outlaws squared off, the result was 26-16 in Moffat County's favor, yet Rawlins claimed a win this time in the gridiron matchup, 15-12.

The numbers of the previous year loomed large leading up to the opening game of 2016 for both teams.

MCHS went 7-3 altogether, including a eighth-place ranking in the postseason helped along by a perfect sweep of the five other schools in the 2A Western Slope North League, their biggest win a 35-point margin against Aspen.

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Rawlins finished the 2015 season 2-6 overall 1-4 in Wyoming's 3A East League. Yet, despite a record that read .250, the Outlaws' victories were huge, including a 28-0 win over Kemmerer and a 42-0 blowout against Lander Valley.

This game was much closer, and for the Dogs, downright heartbreaking at times. Halfway through the first quarter, Hugo Hernandez went down while on defense, grasping his leg, a possible fracture suspected as he was carted off the field.

A shaken Moffat County defense had trouble acclimating, and the Outlaws capitalized on it, as Damon Taylor continued to sweep to the outside before finally scoring from the goal line to put Rawlins at 7-0.

Defense dug in tight with key pass coverage in the end zone by Connor Etzler and Jared Atkin breaking up any potential TD catches for the Outlaws in the rest of the half. Bulldog offense however, could not find its feet for the first half.

The run game started clicking after halftime, however, as did the passing as Keenan Hildebrandt found receivers Mikinzie Klimper and Cale Scranton to get him as far as five yards from the end zone and Hildy smashed his way in for the first MCHS touchdown of the season, but a two-point conversion didn’t succeed.

Rawlins had no fewer than six false start calls and plenty more holding penalties as the third quarter continued.

Hildebrandt kept at it into the fourth, and soon Elias Peroulis was getting his own TD in the red zone from five, as the Moffat County boys led, 12-7, another two-pointer falling flat.

Peroulis was screaming his lungs out seconds later as he took a breather and cheered on his teammates.

“Let’s go! Nothing behind you!” he advised the defense.

Just as it seemed victory was at hand, a 25-yard pass to Colton Garlington with 37 seconds to go put the Outlaws in front, also taking the two-fer, a crestfallen Bulldog offense unable to make up the difference.

Devon Mosman was among those who was unable to suit up for the game, due to not having enough practice time, though he plans to be ready for the first home game next week.

“Playing anything on defense will be great,” he said.

Though the loss was a hard hit, Mosman and other Bulldogs plan to stay strong going into week two.

“I think we’ll be able to stand for each other,” he said.

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