Red Devils end Bulldogs season 63-21
GUNNISON—The football season ended for the Gunnison Bulldogs on Wednesday, Oct. 18, with a 63-21 loss to Grand County in the play-in game of the 2A state playoffs, but not before participating in a play that was more than just football.
A nightmarish second quarter stole the game away from Gunnison after they controlled the game through the first quarter.
“This is a great team,” Bulldogs head coach Jack Pay said. “There’s no other team I’d rather coach, no matter what the scoreboard says. They have a lot of fight and a lot of character, and they’re going to be great men. That’s the important thing.”
Gunnison opened the high-scoring affair with a rare defensive touchdown. Bulldog Kyler White, who has excelled at all positions for Gunnison this year, picked up a fumble after sacking Grand quarterback Brayden Schulz and took it all the way back for the score.
Schulz answered on the next play with a long touchdown run after the pocket collapsed. Schulz’s speed would be a problem all day long for the Bulldogs. On the ensuing drive, Gunnison fired back again with a touchdown from quarterback Kris Edwards to White. That gave the Bulldogs a 14-8 lead going into the second quarter, the fourth time in the season they had done so.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, all that could go wrong did go wrong in the second quarter as Gunnison turned the ball over twice on fumbles, threw an interception, and had a punt blocked inside their 10-yard line. The mishaps turned into a 22-point second quarter for the Red Devils’ unstoppable run offense, who led at halftime, 30-14, effectively crushing the morale of Gunnison.
Gunnison tried to keep themselves in the game, but Grand’s defense wasn’t letting a pass-heavy Bulldog offense catch any breaks.
Eventually, the Bulldogs found the end zone one more time on a kick return from White in the third quarter to breathe some life into the hapless Bulldogs, bringing the score to 37-21, but that was as close as they got.
The Red Devils ran away with the game in the fourth, scoring three more touchdowns.
A timeout by Grand with 14 seconds remaining left fans wondering what was delaying the game’s inevitable end.
With their last play, the Red Devils turned to junior Lucas Carin, a special needs player diagnosed with autism, to run their final play.
With the generous cooperation of the Bulldog defense, Carin carried the game’s final handoff over 50 yards for a touchdown on his only snap in a Grand uniform, tailed by enthusiastic teammates.
“This will be something that [Carin] will remember forever,” Grand head coach Dennis Wells says. “I appreciate Gunnison for letting this happen.”
Gunnison wraps up this season with a 3-7 overall record, improving upon their 2015 record of 1-9. Edwards is set to return for next year with a whole new receiving lineup.
This season marks the first time in over ten years that the Bulldogs host the first round of the playoffs.