Rifle High seniors earn all-state awards | PostIndependent.com

Rifle High seniors earn all-state awards

Rifle High School's Kellin Leigh (22) runs with the football behind offensive teammate and lineman Austin Shepherd during a game this past September against Glenwood Springs. Both Rifle High seniors were named to the CHSAA Class 3A All-state Football team on Tuesday.

Rifle High School seniors Austin Shepherd and Kellin Leigh on Tuesday were named to the Class 3A All-State Football team by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

The pair were integral in the Bears' 2013 season, in which Rifle shared the 3A Western Slope League championship. It was the third consecutive season the Bears were atop the league standings. They were two of the six players from the WSL who were named to the team.

"We've gone 28-2 in the regular season for the past two years, and they've both been a big part of that," Rifle coach Damon Wells said of Leigh and Shepherd. "You would think with that level of success we've had that some accolades would follow.

"The great thing is that our kids don't get hung up on these kinds of things," the coach continued.

“You would think that with that level of success we’ve had that some accolades would follow.”
Damon Wells
Rifle High School football coach

The team was released by CHSAA on its Website, http://www.CHSAAnow.com, on Tuesday afternoon. The award winners were named based on nominations from coaches around Colorado, who voted for the players.

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Also named to the all-state team from the WSL were Palisade seniors Levi Hoaglund (quarterback, free safety) and Zack Maringo (offensive and defensive lineman), along with Delta seniors Jaseil Garcia (OL) and Ryan Whiteside (WR). Dallas Reins of Elizabeth was named the 3A Player of the Year.

Leigh, a running back and defensive back for Rifle, rushed for 1,162 yards and 18 touchdowns on 102 carries, averaging 11.39 yards per carry with 1,416 all-purpose yards. Defensively, Leigh finished with 49 tackles, including nine-tackle performances in games against Palisade, Delta and Coronado.

Shepard, who like Leigh was a three-year starter, played as an offensive lineman and linebacker, and was a key component for Rifle's defense. He finished the season with a team-high 99 tackles with a pair of fumble recoveries.

His biggest game of the season came in a regular-season loss to Conifer this past October, when he finished with 16 tackles in a 20-10 setback.

"We're very fortunate that some of our most talented kids are also our hardest workers," Wells said. "Both Kellin and Austin fit into that role very well."

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