Opening its season against Dolores High School on Aug. 24, the Dove Creek football team showed why it has so many local fans excited.
Among the most impressive aspects of the Bulldogs’ 56-0 shutout win was the team’s ability to run the ball against what has historically been a stout Dolores run defense.
Leading rushers for Dove Creek included freshman quarterback Corbin Cressler, who carried the ball 13 times and racked up 177 yards. Gage Bailey also delivered a standout performance as the sophomore ran the ball seven times for 77 yards while consistently beating up opposing defensive players.
“All of our ball carriers ran downhill and ran hard,” Dove Creek head coach Shane Baughman said. “Gage Bailey played the best game of his young high school career, and Corbin Cressler played really well.”
Although the contest was not an easy one for Dolores, positives came thanks to senior Bryce Baumgartner, who filled in for starting quarterback Wyatt Koskie after the freshman was injured. According to Dolores head coach Ray Davis, Baumgartner threw for 45 yards and ran for about 70 yards during what his head coach deemed an impressive performance.
Because the game was classified as a “heritage game” under CHSAA rules, neither team returned kickoffs or punts, and the game will not count for purposes of RPI or playoff seeding. The experience of the season opener will likely pay off for both teams however, and both coaches noted that they were glad to have their players gain experience.
“We were excited to see how our young players would step up,” Baughman noted. “We have a lot of guys in new positions and they really stepped up and performed well.”
“Kolby Burt stepped up at outside linebacker and played an extremely good game,” noted Ray Davis. “We’re just young at some key spots, and we had a lot of trouble with over pursuit against (Dove Creek’s) eight-man offense. Playing against them was a good experience.”
With the first game of its season now behind them, the Bears will look ahead to a home matchup against Monticello on Aug. 31. Dove Creek will prepare for what figures to be a difficult home matchup against Rangely High School on Aug. 31.
“Rangely isn’t huge, but they’re quick and they have a lot of seniors,” Baughman said. “We’ll have to come and play well to be able to beat them.”
“We’re going to focus a lot on our timing issues,” Davis said. “We’ll have our backup quarterback out there for the next few weeks and our team has a lot to work on.”