Defense dominates in NF

Photo by Tamie Meck Bulldog El Sawatzki (47) and a relentless Bulldog defense stop Sackett Chesnik Friday night at Paonia. The annual rivalry game was the closest in recent years, with Paonia remaining undefeated after a 7-6 win.

Homecoming football was played in Hotchkiss on Friday, October 5 against the Grand Valley Cardinals. The Bulldogs were beaten in a game that was largely defined by the rainy weather. Playing on a greasy field that had been drenched for two days, both sets of players found it very hard to maintain control of the ball. Many penalties and incomplete passes were caused by the water belting down. The game lurched along, moving in fits and starts as both teams ground out the hard yards.

Hotchkiss started very brightly and scored on the first snap of the game. Jace Peebles ran 70 yards for a touchdown that set a positive tone for the Bulldogs, in spite of the rain. In the second quarter, Jacob Palecki scored the only other touchdown for the Dogs when he recovered a fumble and returned it for six points.

Halftime arrived and the rain stayed. Coming down in sheets, the water could not break the spirit of the Hotchkiss faithful, and the students were as tenacious as their namesake. The Bulldogs went on with their halftime festivities, despite the chill air and soaked clothes. The homecoming royalty stood regally under umbrellas as they were announced and the king and queen received their crowns. The cheerleading girls kicked and jumped and lead the cheers of the supporters sitting under ponchos and rain gear. The dance team did a very nice routine in its not weatherproof costumes.

The third quarter came and went, and saw neither team score, or even make many positive gains. The fourth quarter, however, proved to be the undoing of the mighty Bulldogs. Grand Valley scored twice and, crucially, scored both extra points. The Cardinals turned the game around and defeated the Bulldogs 14-12.

"We had a couple of negative plays for lost yards and they capitalized on good field position. They had the good fortune to make a couple of really big plays late in the game and come back on us." Head coach Curtis Hintz says, "I gotta give credit where credit is due. Grand Valley has some good players and really good coaching."

Hintz continues, "The life lessons that the team got from this are very valuable. Don't let a setback ruin the rest of your weekend. It's the 24 hour rule. Soak it in for 24 hours, then go and enjoy the dance and have fun with your friends and let the loss go. Learn from it, and move on to the next one." A fantastic attitude that illustrates that even in defeat, some kind of victory is always to be had.

The Hotchkiss Bulldogs football team will travel to Olathe for a conference game against the Pirates on October 12 at 6 p.m.


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