Bears dismantle Battle Mountain
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – The Rifle Bears kept their undefeated season intact with a dominating 55-0 win against visiting Battle Mountain.
The Huskies (0-5) held Rifle senior running back Ryan Moeller more than 200 yards under his per-game rushing average, but the Bears (5-0) had plenty of other weapons to attack with on Friday night.
It wasn’t like Moeller, who averaged 307 yards per game rushing coming into the contest, had a bad night. He rushed for 89 yards on nine carries and scored three touchdowns. He also added a 47-yard punt return for another score.
Battle Mountain stacked the defensive box with eight players to contain Moeller, but the Bears found other ways to attack on offense.
“Tonight we took care of stuff,” Moeller said. “Sometimes you just got to go out and do it. We had a lot of guys step up tonight.”
Rifle quarterback Adam Rice tossed a pair of TD passes, junior Kellen Leigh ran for one score and caught another and senior Aaron Wagler also snagged a TD pass.
Any worries that the Bears might suffer a letdown Friday night against a winless Battle Mountain team proved to be pointless, much like the Huskies offense.
“We don’t look past any team,” said Rifle head coach Damon Wells.
It would have been understandable if the Bears looked past an 0-4 team with a trip to play undefeated Palisade coming up next Thursday, but that wasn’t an issue at Bears Stadium.
“I can guarantee you,” Wells said. “With every fiber of my soul, we are not overconfident. We will be defined by what we do from this point forward.”
Rifle remained the top-ranked 3A team in Colorado this past week according to the Denver Post prep football poll. Friday night did nothing to challenge its lofty status.
The Bears scored early and often, with Moeller busting his 47-yard punt return TD barely two minutes into the game. He added his first rushing score on the Bears next possession. A Rice-to-Wagler 11-yard TD pass made it 21-0 with three minutes to play in the first quarter.
Moeller made it 27-0 after he hurdled a potential tackler on an 11-yard TD run early in the second quarter. He then intercepted a pass on the Huskies’ next possession, leading to a 22-yard TD catch by Leigh.
With 5 minutes, 20 seconds to play in the second quarter, Leigh scored on a nine-yard sweep to put Rifle ahead 41-0. That play instigated a “running clock,” meaning the game clock did not stop the rest of the game, except for timeouts and injuries.
Moeller scored one more time in the third quarter, plowing 12 yards for his fourth TD of the game. Backup quarterback Layton Stutsman capped the Bears night with a 5-yard TD run to make it 55-0 with five minutes remaining in the game.
“We worked hard all week,” said senior lineman Eli Boone. “We can’t look past anybody in this league. The opponent doesn’t matter – we still need to put the work in.”
The Rifle defense, often overshadowed by its high-powered offense, dominated against Battle Mountain. The Huskies finished the game with minus-nine total yards.
“We still have work to do,” said senior lineman Hugo Ruelas. “We have things we need to improve. We’ll work real hard this week. Once this game ended, it’s Palisade time.”
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