Bulldogs sneak past Bears in overtime | PostIndependent.com

Bulldogs sneak past Bears in overtime

Brian Smith Craig Daily PressRifle's Ryan Moeller looks for room to run during Friday's football game at Craig. The Bears lost to Moffat County in overtime, 21-18.

CRAIG – When a Bear backs a Bulldog into the corner, they’re going to fight back.

Moffat County showed its teeth Friday night at the Bulldog Proving Grounds, claiming a 21-18 overtime victory over Rifle. The result was an upset against the leaders of the 3A Western Slope League, whose record now stands at 4-1 in the league and 6-2 overall.

“It’s the second time we’ve upset a top-10 team this year,” Bulldogs coach Kip Hafey said. “We had to make a lot of adjustments, but it worked out well.”

A rainy evening and a low crowd turnout set a dismal tone as Rifle took an early lead.

The Bears picked up a touchdown less than two minutes in off a 60-yard run by Ryan Moeller. The sophomore took off down the field after breaking through the defensive line. The Bulldog defense wasn’t fooled with a fake field-goal attempt for the two-point conversion, stopping the Bears cold.

Once the ball was in their paws, the Bulldogs drove their way down the field with strong running, helped along by 15 yards worth of offsides and holding calls against Rifle.

Moffat County junior Jonathan Pando completed the work the offense put in to getting within field-goal range, putting a 15-yard kick through the uprights to bring the score to 6-3.

The score remained the same for the second quarter, but, as the rain started to lift in the second half, the Bulldogs were ready to come out fighting.

“We went into the locker room, and we made the adjustments,” Bulldogs quarterback Bubba Ivers said. “We picked up our game and knew we had to be the bigger team.”

With five starters already injured, another Bulldog was added, as Braeden Sullivan was taken out at halftime with a separated shoulder.

“We had to put Mason Updike in for him, and it was something that he wasn’t used to,” Hafey said. “It worked out well.”

The Bulldogs drove in two TDs in the third quarter, with senior Hodge Raftopoulos and the sophomore Ivers powering to the end zone.

Ivers credited the support of his offense for getting him to the goal line to finish the drive with a one-yard carry.

“We were playing as a team,” he said.

The Bears brought the score to a standstill at 18-all midway through the fourth quarter, as Moeller slipped past Bulldog defense for his third TD of the night.

But Moffat County wasn’t about to quit, holding the Bears scoreless through the end of the regular game.

Another Pando field goal put the team ahead in overtime. But the Bulldog defensive line stayed strong to prevent the Bears from scoring on their set of downs.

“The defense kept it up for us the whole game, and they won it for us at the end there,” Hafey said. “The running backs, they did a great job, and the offensive line. And Pando, he was clutch.”

Hafey lauded Rifle coach Damon Wells on his team’s performance.

“Wells is one of the best coaches in the state,” he said. “He does a great job and has his boys playing well. They’ve got a classy program and their kids play hard.”

The win is the second overtime victory in two weeks for the Bulldogs. They beat Battle Mountain Oct. 15 in the final moments. The team’s overall record is now 4-4 and 3-2 in the Western Slope. Hafey plans to parlay the victory into another at Eagle Valley on Friday.

“Every week it’s going to be a battle for us,” he said. “We’re going to enjoy this win this weekend, get the film broke down on Eagle Valley and get back to work.”


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