As far as the Moffat County High School football team is concerned, the difference in determining whether the Moffat Bulldogs or the Florence Huskies would take on Steamboat Springs in the semifinals came down to one thing Saturday -- big plays.
The Florence Huskies scored on plays of 65 and 93 yards at the beginning of each half to take away any momentum the Bulldogs had to earn a spot into the Class 3A semifinals. Florence won, 33-13. The Sailors are now slated to go up against the defending state champions -- the Huskies.
"That was definitely the difference," said Bulldog senior defensive back Kelvin Grinolds, who couldn't hold onto running back Matt Ortiz during a 93-yard pass play for a touchdown. "We felt like we played with them, and then you look at the scoreboard and it didn't say that."
"Those were huge," said Florence coach Mark Buderus about the game-breaking plays his team made. "We knew if we could get past their front line we could get some plays, and it didn't happen a lot. But those couple of times counted."
The Huskies went into halftime with a 19-0 lead and most of the momentum. The Bulldogs' only scoring chance came at the end of the first half when Brad Hurd missed a 36-yard field goal.
The Bulldog defense tried to get the team back in the game in the third quarter when Kyle Fredrickson hit Huskies quarterback Kevin Young and then grabbed the ball as it popped loose.
Moffat County's offense took over on the Florence 14-yard line. Two runs, a pass play and a penalty later, the Bulldogs turned over the ball on downs.
Three plays later, Young hit Ortiz across the middle of the field, and he outran everybody to give the defending state champions an insurmountable lead of 25-0.
"We saw on tape that they were a big play team," Bulldog coach Kip Hafey said. "Time and time again we'd hold them and then they'd hit us with a 30-yard bust."
Florence's Ty Buderus set the tone the first time he touched the ball. The fullback received an inside hand off, bounced off five Bulldogs and then was gone for a touchdown with 9:44 remaining in the first quarter.
"In the Berthoud game, we stuffed them right away, and we knew it was going to go well," said Moffat County defensive coordinator Lance Scranton. "When Buderus made that play it was the opposite effect for us."