Bears, Huskies to square off in battle of unbeatens
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It’s been some time since so much hype surrounded a Battle Mountain-Rifle football game.
Rifle’s no stranger to gridiron success. Until an enrollment dip spurred a mini-slump that’s kept the Bears from postseason play the last three seasons, the playoffs were a perennial certainty for the western Garfield County school.
Rifle made the playoffs 13 straight seasons from 1995 to 2007, winning the 3A state title in 2004 and finishing as state runner-up in 2005.
Battle Mountain’s track record the last decade and a half or so doesn’t exactly measure up with what the Bears have accomplished. The Huskies last made the playoffs in 1994. Their last league title came all the way back in 1991.
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But 2011 is a wildly different story for the upstart squad from Edwards. At 3-0, Battle Mountain appears to be for real.
And so does Rifle, which enters tonight’s game against the visiting Huskies with the same record. It’s the 3A Western Slope League opener for both teams.
Battle Mountain’s non-league schedule featured wins over Summit (46-6), Roaring Fork (42-0) and The Classical Academy (53-28).
The Bears have beaten Grand Valley (48-7), Coal Ridge (21-14) and Olathe (16-0).
Rifle’s led by bruising back Ryan Moeller, who’s already well over 500 yards in the rushing department.
Quarterback Jake Engle, who can do damage with his arm and legs, is the Huskies’ top offensive threat.
Tonight’s meeting, which could have huge playoff implications, kicks off at 7 p.m.
Glenwood Springs needs a bounceback game in the biggest way.
Coming off losses to Montrose and Fruita Monument by a collective count of 89-0, the Demons are limping into tonight’s 3A WSL opener against visiting Palisade.
The Bulldogs, ranked second in Class 3A in the latest Denver Post media poll, come to town with a 3-0 record. Wins over 5A Grand Junction Central (24-12), a solid 3A squad in D’Evelyn (45-35) and 2A Roaring Fork (42-0) comprised Palisade’s non-league ledger.
Since a 33-7 win over 2A Basalt in their opener, the Demons have had it rough against bigger schools. Montrose is a Class 4A football school and Fruita is 5A.
Coal Ridge will be without head coach Scott Parker and a handful of suspended players for a second straight week in tonight’s road tilt at Roaring Fork.
Despite missing key players, interim head coach Greg Holley and the Titans hung with Delta in a 14-6 defeat last week. The Titans dropped to 1-2.
Parker was placed on administrative leave from his coaching duties last week and, after an investigation of a coaching code of conduct violation, was reinstated by Garfield School District Re-2 Superintendent Susan Birdsey on Tuesday.
While Parker’s back to coaching at practice, he must sit out one more game before returning to the sidelines on Friday night. That means Holley, who was Roaring Fork’s head coach from 2008 to 2010, will be the frontman against his old team.
The early going of 2011 hasn’t been kind to the Rams, who enter Week 4 with an 0-3 record. Roaring Fork has been outscored by a 119-7 count in losses to Hotchkiss, Battle Mountain and Palisade.
Tonight’s game is the 2A WSL opener for both squads.
After a trying start to the season, Grand Valley picked up its first win last week. Racking up more than 300 yards on the ground, the Cardinals took care of Hayden, 41-7.
Tanner Zimmerman paced 1-2 Grand Valley in that one, amassing 162 yards and a touchdown. David Witt chipped in 118 yards and two scores.
Tonight, the Cardinals look to sustain the momentum against visiting Cedaredge in their 2A WSL opener.
The Bruins enter with an identical 1-2 record and are fresh off a 27-3 loss to Bayfield in Week 3.
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