Moffat County football sinks Sailors, 27-0, in season opener
Moffat County High School was the place to be Friday night for the start of football season and the continuation of the ongoing rivalry between the MCHS Bulldogs and the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors that culminated in a 27-0 win for Moffat County.
By the numbers headed into the Zero Week face-off, the two teams were evenly matched, each coming off 4-6 seasons in 2014, Moffat County hoping to flip the score of the 28-14 loss that occurred when last they met, hopefully adding even more points this time.
Though one point short of that goal, the greater deficit gave the Bulldogs no reason to gripe in a match that was theirs for nearly the entire run.
The first play looked ominous, as a pitch to Brett Loyd led to a throw that was taken in by Steamboat’s Payton Mcelhiney, but Bulldog defense held tight, blocking a punt and later a field goal attempt to keep it tied at zero for the first quarter.
It was late in the second quarter when Eddie Smercina broke through the Sailors’ defense to take the first touchdown of the season, and the score only motivated the team further from there.
“We started awful slow tonight, I don’t have the slightest idea why, but it was a great night for football, my god, what a setting, what a crowd,” said head coach Keith Gille after the final whistle blew.
Smercina led the team in rushing yards with a total 117, including a 70-yard breakaway third quarter TD that was arguably the play of the game, while Shandon Hadley, though scoreless, picked up 86 yards on the run and 25 receiving for 111 total.
Loyd and starting quarterback Keenan Hildebrandt also crossed the goal line from the red zone, with 71 and 15 total yards on foot, respectively.
Interceptions by Smercina and Connor Scranton helped neutralize any chance the Sailors had of picking up momentum, while coverage by Trevor Kuhn, Stelios Peroulis, Mike Bingham and more of the Bulldog D did the rest.
The Bulldog support was strong, including the newly restructured spirit team keeping up the pep on the sidelines, a tailgate party with grilled goods provided by Principal Kelly McCormick and a lively parking lot dance party to celebrate the victory.
Now 1-0, MCHS will host Rifle as their next opponent Sept. 4, while 0-1 Steamboat takes a week’s respite, headed to Aspen Sept. 11.
“You never know what to expect from the first game of the season,” Gille noted. “It’s been a tense, tense couple of weeks getting ready, but hey, it’s nice to get one in under our belts to start.”
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