One team has proven it's on the rise. Another seems like it's headed in the other direction.
Friday's game between the Rifle and Glenwood Springs High School football teams is, however, a traditional rivalry. It's a game between a pair of teams that each won state titles in the past decade and have played each other for postseason positions in recent years.
Those traditional rivals will face off again, when the top-ranked Bears (2-0 overall, 1-0 Class 3A Western Slope League play), host the Demons (0-2, 0-1) at 7 p.m. at Bears Stadium.
Records, however, don't really matter in this rivalry, and it's shown the past three seasons, when the games have gone down to the wire. And Glenwood Springs' overall record could be deceptive, as the Demons' two losses have come to teams ranked No. 3 (Conifer) and No. 2 (Palisade) in the most recent Coloradopreps.com 3A football poll.
"That's no easy road," Rife coach Damon Wells said. "Thing is, we know they have good kids who play hard, and they have a coaching staff that is first class and will have their kids ready."
Then again, the Demons are also well aware of the Bears' accomplishments this season, including their 45-0 victory at Moffat County last week.
"This will be the best team we've faced so far this year, and they've got some great talent," said Demons coach Rocky Whitworth, whose team dropped a 33-7 decision to Palisade last Friday. "For us to be able to compete with them, there will be no room for error and no mistakes. We'll have to play great just to be in the game."
Rifle senior running back Ryan Moeller, through two games, has rushed for 666 yards and 10 touchdowns on 36 carries for a team that's already racked up 922 rushing yards as a team. Senior quarterback Adam Rice finished 3-for-7 passing against the Bulldogs, including a 45-yard scoring pass to Moeller.
Glenwood Springs quarterback Travis Lundin was big for the Demons in last week's loss to Palisade. The junior finished 22-for-35 passing for 173 yards, as Glenwood Springs' offense showed signs of life in the second half after a sub-par first half.
"It's a different kind of game when you know everyone on the other side of the ball," Wells said. "We know we're going to get their best and we hope we can give them our best. We'll see what happens."