It's been a few years, but Rifle is no stranger to the state title game. The Bears defeated Sterling, 7-6, in the Class 3A state title game in 2004. A year later, Rifle returned to the championship tilt, losing to Florence, 35-14.
All told, the Bears have won three titles. They also won it all in 1973 and 1961. They shared the 1961 title by tying Louisville in the championship, 6-all.
Rifle (13-0) will seek its fourth title when it faces Silver Creek (11-2) at Legacy Stadium in Aurora on Saturday.
Silver Creek, which is located in Longmont, earned its berth in next weekend's title game with a 24-7 win over Conifer in Saturday's other 3A semifinal.
The Raptors pulled away late to down the Lobos, a team Rifle beat in the regular season, 38-7.
Silver Creek, which plays in the Tri-Valley League, will be making its second straight appearance in the 3A title game.
Sophomore linebacker Austin Shepherd had an eventful day. Not only did he fill in for teammate Zach Bare on the Rifle offensive line, but his shoe busted apart during the game.
"It was on one of the offensive plays," said the young Bear, who played left guard because Bare was battling a back injury. "I went to pull and just slipped. I looked down at my shoe and the bottom side was looking up at me."
Lucky for Shepherd, teammate Zack Wisniewski loaned him some cleats.
Shepherd's mom, Jennifer, ended up with her son's busted shoe.
"Save that shoe!" she shouted from the bleachers at Dutch Clark Stadium, wanting a little souvenir from her son's big day.
"That'll probably be in the trophy case," Austin said with a smile.
Kellin Leigh is beginning to resemble a lumberjack. Rifle's junior running back/defensive back is sporting a beard that's growing denser by the week.
He wouldn't call it a playoff beard, though.
"I don't know," he said.
But will he be shaving it any time soon?
"Of course not," he replied. "It's giving me good luck."