Moffat pounds the ground
Offense puts up more than 300 rushing yards in win
The plan for the night was to establish the run to open up the passing game. But for the members of the Moffat County football team, the run worked well enough they stuck with it in a 35-14 win.
“I thought our line had the best push of the year,” coach Kip Hafey said. “They opened up the holes and then (junior Andrew) Drake broke tackles in the open field all night.”
If Drake had access to game balls, he’d give one to every lineman. The junior, who previously had 247 yards for the season, ran for 249 yards on 32 carries. Four of those carries were for touchdowns.
“The coaches showed us the film of the last play against Steamboat, and we saw how well we got a push on the line because (sophomore JT) ‘Diesel’ (Haddan) didn’t get touched,” Drake said. “We were challenged to do that every play tonight, and I thought the line did that.”
Senior Ricky Willis was one of those linemen.
“The line as a whole fired off the ball great tonight,” he said. “The Delta line was just as big as the teams we’ve faced but they didn’t hit as hard.”
While the offense put on the big show on the ground, rushing for 322 yards on 55 carries, the defense gave its team easy, early chances.
The ‘Dogs forced three turnovers in the first quarter. The first was an interception by Haddan four plays into the game. That led to a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Derek Duran to senior tight end Kevin Loughran.
Two plays later, Bulldog senior lineman Peter Bacich recovered a fumble on Moffat’s 41-yard line. Drake did the rest for the offense after the turnover.
The junior touched the ball twice in the Bulldogs’ next three plays. The first run was for 26 yards and the second was a 34-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
On the first play after the kickoff Delta fumbled again on its own 20-yard line. Drake handled the ball seven of the eight plays it took for the Bulldogs to drive for the score. Drake’s three-yard run at the beginning of the second quarter made it 22-0.
After a three-and-out by Delta the Moffat offense showed it was capable of moving the ball without great field position. Daniel Cramblett caught a 30-yard pass and Drake did most of the rest of the work as the Bulldogs drove 89 yards for another touchdown at 3:56 remaining in the half. Drake’s 11-yard run and Cory Pike’s extra point made it 29-0.
That was the score at halftime.
“Moffat totally dominated us the first half,” Delta coach Bruce Keith said. “We had a running back who’s had a good year for us cough the ball up twice, and it hurt us. You can’t give teams like Moffat those mistakes.”
In the second half, the Bulldogs came out with the same game plan — run the ball down Delta’s throats.
The ‘Dogs did just that with an 18-play drive that included just three pass plays. Moffat drove 61 yards, but the problem was they started 65 yards from the end zone. Delta stopped Moffat on fourth down at the 4-yard line. Although there was no score, the Bulldogs ate up eight minutes with the drive.
The defense forced Delta to punt again, and this time, the Bulldog offense scored.
An eight-play drive was capped off by a 3-yard run for Drake. The kick was no good so at 11:54 left in the game the visitors led 35-0.
Delta made it a bit interesting by scoring two touchdowns on turnovers by the Bulldogs’ second-team offense.
The Panthers were threatening to make it even closer after Drake fumbled a kickoff to the home team. On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, seniors Jason Kawcak and Willis converged on Delta’s Luke Schmaltz to force a fumble. After that, Moffat ran out the clock.
“It’s hard to keep motivated with a big lead like that,” Keith said. “At least we gave our fans something to cheer about at the end.”
The Panthers are a young team, with only two senior starters on defense.
“We made mistakes that a young team will do,” Keith said. “We can’t be young and succeed in this league.”
Duran and Delta quarterback Kyle Clanton are two of the better passers in the league, but they didn’t put up numbers that showed it Friday. Duran didn’t have to when his team ran for more than 300 yards. He finished 9-of-15 for 113 yards and one touchdown. Turnovers kept Clanton from getting in a rhythm early. He finished 7-of-12 for 103 yards and one touchdown. Fifty of those yards came on his last two passes of the game in the fourth quarter.
“Both our lines deserve the credit tonight,” Hafey said. “Now teams have to consider that we can run the ball as well as pass it.”
Next up for the Bulldogs is a homecoming matchup against Glenwood Springs. The Demons fell to Rifle, 7-3, on Friday night.
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