Raucous road game leads to 30-14 win for Moffat County football
Watkins — Saturday afternoon sunshine brought a lot of sweat to the brows of the Moffat County High School varsity football team compared to the cool atmosphere of Friday night lights, but the Bulldogs’ urge to win didn’t take long to heat up in their latest game.
Moffat County brought its season record to 2-1 after winning a weekend road game, 30-14, against the Rams of Ridge View Academy in Watkins.
Neither squad made an entry on the scoreboard in the first quarter, with Kearn Gerber grabbing a red zone interception that otherwise may have given the Rams the advantage, but the Dogs came out rougher and rowdier from there, as Elias Peroulis blocked a punt and Eddie Smercina downed the ball right at the 50.
The momentum kept up as quarterback Keenan Hildebrandt floated a perfect pass to Gerber for a 38-yard reception and Moffat County’s first score.
With a domineering subsequent drive, Ridge View looked ready to even it up from the 15, but Brett Loyd tipped the pass that would have found the end zone.
With the ball back in their possession, the Dogs nearly lost the pigskin again only for Elias Peroulis to take advantage of the confusion following the fumble and dash 58 yards for the longest run of the day
Once on the goal line, Hildebrandt snuck in for another score to make it 13-0.
It didn’t take long in the third quarter for Moffat County to get in scoring position again, and Shandon Hadley had the honor of scoring the TD that would put it out of reach, followed by Loyd going for the conversion to make up for his earlier kick being blocked.
Though the prospect of another shutout loomed, the Bulldog energy waned in the fourth quarter as coach Keith Gille sent in the reserves, which had its pros — a final TD by Dominic Pascetti — and cons, as a flustered pass coverage allowed the Rams to catch up with catches.
Still, Gille was pleased with playing nearly the entire roster.
“When you get your young kids into a varsity situation, they traveled, they worked hard, they warmed up with all the other kids, and you hope that they learn from this and that down the road it pays off,” he said. “We had a very athletic team today, and it was a 30-0 game at one point. I’m pretty proud of that.”
Peroulis power was prominent as Elias led rushing, cousin John T recorded six tackles and senior Stelios recovered a fumble for a turnover, forced a safety and tied with Kaden Hafey for the most overall tackles, both with nine apiece.
Gille noted Kaden’s perseverance on the field with a family situation at hand as his grandfather, Steve, a longtime supporter of Moffat County football, was hospitalized in Denver as he battles cancer.
“Our prayers are with him and the Hafey family,” Gille said.
Loyd followed Elias with 50 yards on the ground, Pascetti 42, Hadley 32 and Smercina 27. Gerber had the hot hands with two interceptions, while Connor Scranton was the designated returner.
Hildebrandt rushed for 32 and threw for 38, while Chace Marshall ran for two as QB, with Isaac Montoya also filling the position.
The Ridge View match is the first of three consecutive away games, and Moffat County will travel to meet Gunnison and Battle Mountain, with a bye week in between.
The 2A Western Slope North schedule will mostly be at home this year, but playing in front of an opposing crowd before that will be key.
“I’m excited for what the Bulldogs are doing,” Gille said. “If we can stay together and run our league, it’ll give us a chance to hopefully get a home game in the playoffs, and I think (the travel time) will pay off then.”
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Recreational marijuana taxes will stay at the same rate for now in Craig, and the museum and library will have to look elsewhere for funding in the near future.