COLLBRAN – The Dove Creek Bulldogs have picked up right where they left off.
After graduating Gauge Thompson and Gage Bailey from last fall’s running attack, head coach Shane Baughman has another Gage – Gage Buffington – who is stepping into the big shoes to lead the Bulldogs rushing attack.
The sophomore broke 100 yards on the ground for the first time in his career, and led a Bulldog ground game to over 400 yards rushing en route to a 56-22 thumping of Plateau Valley.
Hot off their state semifinal appearance from a season ago, the Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage with a savvy group of lineman, led by senior Blaine Johnson. Five different Bulldogs found the end zone, and four different backs had over 80 yards rushing.
Dove Creek’s season opening schedule has them on the road for their first four games, but Baughman had to be pleased with the way his team responded in the first 12 minutes of the 2021 campaign. The Bulldogs raced for four scores to stun the Cowboys, taking a 30-0 lead. From there, the Bulldogs continued to extend their lead and were up 44-6 at half.
Senior quarterback Chorbin Cressler was efficient when the Bulldogs opted to go to the air, completing seven of his nine pass attempts, including a touchdown strike to junior Kendall Gardner. Cressler beat the Cowboys with his legs as well, adding 86 rushing yards and a touchdown. Junior Kade Hankins was Cressler’s favorite target on the afternoon, making three grabs for 51 yards, to go along with his two rushing touchdowns.
Junior Cole Taber found the end zone twice as well, as the Bulldogs spread the wealth on an efficient offensive outing.
As for the defense, Dove Creek had almost their entire roster making stops, led by junior Quaden Huffaker’s six tackles and a sack. Sophomore Aiden Chadd added five stops as the Bulldogs limited the Cowboys to less than 200 yards of total offense.
An enticing matchup awaits in week two, as Dove Creek will prepare for a second road trip to the northwest corner of the state to take on Rangely on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. The game serves as a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal matchup, a game in which the Bulldogs ousted the Panthers, 30-12.