Titans tripped up by Bulldogs at home
Outside of a field goal on the opening drive of the game, the Coal Ridge Titans struggled to put together an offensive attack Friday in a 2A Western Slope League matchup against the visiting Moffat County Bulldogs, resulting in a disappointing 28-3 loss.
After pounding the Aspen Skiers in Week 4, the Titans were poised to pick up their second win of the season, but struggles in the trenches against the Bulldogs ultimately seal their fate in Friday’s home loss.
“It’s pretty frustrating, because I felt that we could play with them on the field after watching film this week,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Trorie Rickert said. “But we just weren’t able to match up with their physicality up front and they brought it to us and played much tougher than us. But defensively I felt that we played very well outside of a few mistakes in the first half that really hurt us. Offensively we just weren’t able to move the ball like I felt we should have.”
With Moffat receiving the opening kickoff, Coal Ridge appeared fired up defensively as the Titans quickly brought down Elias Perious and Keenan Hildebrandt for losses on the first two plays of the game, but on third and 16 from their own 19-yard line, Hildebrandt found Cale Scranton behind the Coal Ridge secondary for an 81-yard touchdown to silence the Titan faithful just three plays into the game.
Not to be outdone though so early in the game, the Titans responded on offensive quickly as junior running back Jacx Power raced 32 yards down the near sideline on the first play from scrimmage for the Titan offense while also drawing a horse collar penalty to set up shop at the Moffat 14-yard line just one play into the game.
Looking to punch it into the end zone, the Titans turned to Power again, who bulled his way to the 10, but a loss of five on the next carry by senior Eddy Baez and an incomplete pass from senior quarterback Jackson Sargent forced the Titans to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Oscar Salazar to pull the Titans to within four early in the first quarter at 7-3.
Getting the ball back for its second drive of the game, the Moffat offense embarked on a 16-play drive that ate up most of the remaining time in the first quarter before senior safety Jacob Morgan stepped in front of a fourth down pass from Hildebrandt to record the big interception deep in his own territory.
Coal Ridge then answered with a 12-play drive to flip the field as Sargent found senior tight end Tyler Sloan for a 17-yard catch-and-run, while Power added an 11-yard carry later on in the drive.
But the drive ultimately stalled as Sargent was sacked for a 14-yard loss by Moffat linebacker Dominic Pascetti to force a Titan punt.
Following the change of possession, Moffat struck quickly as Hildebrandt took the read-option keeper 77 yards down the far sideline for the score to push the Bulldog lead to 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
Down by 11 in the second quarter, the Titans quickly went three-and-out but responded on defense by forcing a three-and-out for Moffat to get the ball back.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Power raced up the middle for a 15-yard gain to get things going again for the Titans, but Sargent was then sacked by Hildebrandt on the next play for a loss of seven.
Following a false start two plays later, Coal Ridge faced a third and 23. On the play, Sargent found senior receiver Raul Ramirez for 15 yards to bring up a fourth and eight, but a 2-yard completion from Sargent to Power over the middle was not enough to move the chains, forcing a turnover on downs.
Seeing a chance to break the game open, Hildebrandt and the Moffat offense got to work as the Bulldogs took over at midfield and proceeded to find the end zone seven plays later as Hildebrandt hooked up with Scranton again for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 21-3 at the half.
Looking to get back into the game after the half, the Titans came out strong on defense but simply couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side of the ball outside of a few nice runs from Power.
“I thought we should have really been able to run the ball and I really wanted to establish that,” Rickert said. “But it seemed like we weren’t able to control the line of scrimmage, which forced us to try and throw the ball. We just couldn’t get it going.”
Moffat would add a late touchdown by Hildebrandt from five yards out, capping off a 12-play, 96-yard drive highlighted by a 56-yard run from Kaden Hafey.
With the loss, Coal Ridge falls to 1-5 (1-1 2A WSL) on the season. Next week is Homecoming for the Titans against the Basalt Longhorns.
“We talk a lot about being family and just playing together,” Rickert said. “I told the guys to keep their heads up and stick with it. We have Basalt next week for Homecoming, which is going to be a very tough one. So I want them to continue to be focused. We’re going to continue to battle and keep working hard and try to get another win.”
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