Moffat County High School football secures 27-12 win against Ridge View | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School football secures 27-12 win against Ridge View

1st home game of season draws excited crowd

Fans cheer at the Bulldog Proving Grounds as the Moffat County High School varsity football team celebrates following its first win of the season Friday night. The Bulldogs defeated the Ridge View Academy Rams, 27-12.

— The Bulldogs are back in business.

The Moffat County High School varsity football team celebrated its first win of the season, a 27-12 victory against visiting Ridge View Academy, of Watkins, on Friday night at the Bulldog Proving Grounds.

The event started off shaky for MCHS, with the Rams turning their first possession into six points in less than 90 seconds of gameplay. The Bulldogs answered back with a long drive that ended with them taking the lead thanks to a reception by Eddie Smercina that put them up, 7-6.

Ridge View got up on the scoreboard again midway through the second quarter, after plenty of back-and-forth tactics by both teams. With the score looking like it would stay 12-7 going into halftime, MCHS players tried everything they could think of to regain ground, and their prayers were answered as a Hail Mary pass from quarterback Matt Hamilton found its way into the hands of heavily covered wide receiver Kearn Gerber in the end zone with less than a second before the half ended, making the score 14-12 to close things and bringing some huge cheers from the electrified crowd in the stands.

From there, the game belonged purely to the Bulldogs, with Hamilton taking advantage of a defensive lapse three minutes into the third quarter to rush for his own 36-yard touchdown.

Even with a smaller roster, the Rams refused to go down quietly and held MCHS scoreless for most of the remainder of the game, with the line of scrimmage rarely making its way into the red zone.

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"They never gave up — that was the caliber of this team," coach Keith Gille said about his latest opponents.

The Bulldogs managed to pick up some heavy penalties in the second half, getting pushed back as much as an extra 20 yards on a given down. With two minutes to go in the game, a monster sack by Brady Springer and Stelios Peroulis opened up a big opportunity for the Bulldogs to score one final time.

Gille pointed out that even after being shuffled around among linebackers in the team's first two games, Peroulis has adapted well from going from the middle position to the outside and back throughout three weeks’ time.

"I'm really proud of the way he played today," Gille said.

After this, Keenan Hildebrandt slammed it up the middle with 1:25 left in the match for a five-yard TD that guaranteed the W for Moffat County.

Even with fewer spectators remaining at the end of the game than when it started — largely due to some chilly winds that picked up as the night progressed — the sounds of Bulldog pride were far-reaching as the team led everyone in the school song and chant for its first home game of the season.

MCHS's record stands at 1-2 after road losses to Rifle and Steamboat Springs, but Gille said he hopes to keep up the level of home-crowd enthusiasm when the team takes on Gunnison on Sept. 12 at the Proving Grounds.

"It's a great community and a great culture, and I hope to see everybody there," Gille said.

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