Coal Ridge stumbles late, falls to Moffat County 21-14
Post Independent Contributor
The Moffat County Bulldogs used a big-play fourth quarter to rally from a late 14-6 deficit to upend the Coal Ridge Titans by a score of 21-14 in a 2A Western Slope League game on a chilly Friday evening in Peach Valley.
The offensive fireworks were kept to a minimum in the early stages of the game as neither team mounted any serious scoring threats out of the gates.
Moffat County senior quarterback Colby Beaver did connect with receiver Cale Scranton on a 30-yard pass play to get the Bulldogs into Titan territory midway through the quarter, but a dropped pass and a muffed exchange between the center and quarterback stalled the Moffat County scoring drive.
The Bulldogs came right back on their next possession to score on a 2-yard sneak across the goal line by Beaver. The key play in the drive for Moffat County came on a long screen pass completion from Beaver to senior Josh Teeter. The extra point try flew wide right for the visitors from Craig.
Coal Ridge sophomore Colby Hoffman got the Titans back in the hunt quickly as he returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Moffat 45 yard line. Utilizing a punishing ground game featuring junior Damian Spell up the middle, and senior Adrian Garcia around the end, Coal Ridge rammed the ball into the end zone with 9:27 showing until halftime. It was Spell getting credit for the score for the Titans from 1 yard out after taking the handoff from senior quarterback Oscar Salazar. Garcia set up the score with a bolt around the right end that barely missed the goal line pylon. The Salazar extra point made it 7-6 Coal Ridge.
After keeping the potent right arm of Beaver in check, the Coal Ridge defense turned things over to the offensive 11 dressed in blue to try and widen the lead.
Putting together a lengthy drive just prior to intermission, mostly on the legs of Spell, Garcia, and Salazar, the Titans decided to go away from the ground and give the airways a try. Things worked out nicely as Salazar hit senior receiver Kaleb Mercado in the end zone with 21 seconds left on the first half clock. The PAT by Salazar made it 14-6 as both teams trotted to the locker room on senior night at Coal Ridge.
Coal Ridge, with its steady rushing game, dominated the time of possession in the third quarter, but the Titans weren’t able to add to their lead as the score remained 14-6 heading into the final quarter of play.
The turning point in the game came with 7:25 showing on the clock when Beaver hit a wide open Dario Alexander on an 80-yard scoring play that brought Moffat County to within 14-12. Beaver snuck the ball across the goal line on the 2-point conversion, and all of a sudden, things were knotted at 14-all.
With the Titans unable to mount an offensive drive, the Bulldogs went ahead for good with 3:39 left in the game when senior Victor Silva scored on an end around play into the north end zone
“This year is a building process,” Downing said. “We have 35 freshman and sophomores on this team, and half of our seniors didn’t play football last year. We have a bright future. We’re just trying to build things up and be competitive.”
Coal Ridge (1-6, 0-3 WSL ) will be on the road Friday to pay a visit to the Aspen Skiers.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.