Saturday, February 24, 2018

Quarterback Cody Small sets to hand the ball off to running back Connor Murdock Friday night. Murdock had a good night running the ball and also had seven tackles on defense.Steffan Walks Over Ice runs the ball wide in football action Friday night. It was a tough night for the Bulldogs as the Miles City Cowboys beat Hardin 42-0.

Bulldogs shutout by Cowboys 42-0

Game not nearly as lopsided as score might suggest
I really like our effort. The kids do play hard.” — Mike Flamm, Head Coach
A lopsided loss to the undefeated Miles City Cowboys Friday night was the culmination of a difficult end to a very disruptive week, and the revealing of excellent effort and versatility by some of the Bulldog players.
Head Coach Mike Flamm explained the bizarre events of the past week saying, “Thursday, Chase Molina broke his foot. We were in walk-through practice and he gets up to run on the field and fractures a bone in his foot. So our starting center during pre-game practice is out. We had been planning all week on using a three-back set with Trevin Baumann. We gave him an eligible number and worked on it all week and down goes our center when he’s just standing up.
“A freak accident – so now Trevin has to go play center when all week he has been learning plays carrying the ball, getting everything understood from the running back positions and what he has to do there. Then we have to move Johnny Morgan over to center for our heavy packages. A crazy situation that derailed us a little bit.”
Despite the lopsided score and the disruptive events of the week, Coach Flamm still had a positive outlook: “I thought the boys did fine and really got after some people. Obviously, we have some blemishes and things we have to clean up like any other game, but considering all that happened and where it happened, that’s a tough one to recover from. I really like our effort. The kids do play hard. I just need, as coach, to make sure they play smarter.”
As for Molina and his broken foot, Coach Flamm said, “Hopefully, he’ll be able to come back. It breaks your heart to see a kid not be able to play football. He has put in a lot of time this year and done a good job for us.”
Hardin was able to move the ball against the Miles City defense, but hurt themselves on most possessions either with fumbles or penalties. 
“Yeah we had a fumble that hurt us down inside the 10 that should never have happened, then a holding penalty inside the 20 another time. Little things like that seem to always derail us and we’re not the type of team that’s going to chunk out 10 yards on the next play – so we lose five yards or 10 yards that definitely makes it hard for us to make it up,” said Flamm.
Even with the mistakes, Coach Flamm maintained a positive view of the Bulldog offensive performance and the game.
“I’m looking at it and we could have been six nothing at halftime, and we were inside the 10 and could have scored,” he said. “There were a lot of could-have’s and should-have’s, but really it was a closer game than it looked.
“I was happy, because we had more diversity out of the offense this week; but I still think that has to improve just to get some more unpredictability about where we are. Obviously, we’re going to run it; everybody knows we’re going to run it. I felt like we were able to do a few things out of the run differently this week, yet at the same time, we missed key blocks. You can’t miss blocks when the defense is loading the box and getting the numbers on you. You have to get every single block.”
Defensively, the Bulldogs slowed the Cowboys for the first half, but once Cowboy quarterback Matt Blunt found his passing range the game was over as he took advantage of the Bulldogs’ weak secondary.
“They burned us early on some passes and the big plays are what killed us early in the first half,” said Coach Flamm. “We started rotating guys in at corner to see if we could cover deep. With every kid we put out there, we had the same results. Gabe Birdinground was doing a good job, then he hurt his knee and was out of the game.”
When asked about the versatility of Baumann, Coach Flamm said, “Outstanding, the kid has never played varsity ball and another one is Grant Scalpcane. Those two – I just wish we had them longer. Fortunately, Grant is only a junior and I hope he’ll be back next year. I have nothing but praise for those two on the defensive line. James Wilson played above and beyond what he has done in the past. He’s not afraid of getting in there and sticking people. He played a pretty good free safety for us. There are some positives and I saw some growth out of some kids. Justin Zier, a sophomore, is coming into his own. He never quits out there.”
Scalpcane  and Kennan Hooker led the Bulldogs on defense with eight tackles and two for loss by Scalpcane. Wilson and Connor Murdock each had seven while Zier and Bauman each had six.
Friday, the Bulldogs head to Glendive. Evaluating the Red Devils, Flamm said, “Tough place to play. New surface. Lot of speed and an outstanding quarterback. I think it will be a tough match-up for us, but I think we should be able to compete. We’ll have to see where the injuries put us this next week. We have some kids that are dinged up but, hopefully, they’ll be back. Kids are still fighting and they’re hungry. I expect them to play well.”
Miles City 42, Hardin 0
Miles City 6, 16, 6, 14 - 42
Hardin     0,  0,  0,  0  -   0