Now halfway through the season, Rifle has yet to lose a football game. But the Bears know better than to feel too good about themselves.
"The Western Slope League is very, very tough," head coach Damon Wells said. "We feel blessed every week to win. We understand that it is harder to make the 3A playoffs in football than any other classification in the state."
As such, Rifle isn't resting on the laurels of its 5-0 start.
"We will prepare every week on that individual week," Wells continued. "We only hope to get a little better every day and enjoy our time with each other ... and hopefully it allows us to have more days together."
The Bears had too few days together last season, surging out to a 6-1 start only to see their playoff plans quashed by a three-game losing streak to end the season.
An older and wiser squad will do its best to stave off a similar fate in 2011.
"From a win-loss perspective, a 5-0 start is obviously the best start we could have hoped for," Wells said. "From a student-athlete perspective, our kids continue to work harder and improve, which is also the best we could have hoped for."
The second half of Rifle's season starts tonight with a trip to Steamboat Springs, a team that has yet to win a game. Delta dealt the Sailors a 37-14 loss last week.
Buoyed by their devastating ground game, the Bears rolled Eagle Valley, 41-12, for a homecoming win last week.
Ryan Moeller racked up 220 yards and two rushing scores. Brandon Kittle finished with 131 yards and three touchdowns for Rifle, which is ranked 10th in Class 3A in the latest Denver Post media poll.