Bears roar past Coal Ridge in opener
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Thunder and lightning made for quite the spectacle at last year’s Coal Ridge-Rifle football game, delaying the rivalry game’s kickoff by nearly two hours.
In this year’s meeting between Garfield School District Re-2 schools, Ryan Moeller and the Bears provided their own form of thunder and lightning.
Ripping off big run after big run, Moeller rushed for 252 yards and five touchdowns on 17 carries – all in the first half – to lead Rifle to a 45-6 win over the host Titans in Friday’s season opener.
The Bears, coming off an 11-1 season and 3A state quarterfinal appearance in 2011, couldn’t have asked for a much better start to 2012.
“I think so,” said Moeller, a 6-foot, 205-pound senior whose medley of speed and strength helped him to 2,469 rushing yards last season. “It was a pretty good job and everything. We didn’t play perfectly, obviously. We still have to get better, but we’ll work hard this week.”
Moeller and his teammates wasted little time getting to work in front of a charged-up crowd on Friday.
On Rifle’s third offensive play of the night, Moeller emerged from a scrum and took off up the right sideline for a 64-yard score.
The senior would punctuate each of the Bears’ next three drives with TDs spanning 2, 2 and 38 yards, respectively, to make it 28-0 after a quarter.
Marco Gutierrez booted a 25-yard field goal, quarterback Adam Rice scored on a 1-yard keeper and Moeller added a 41-yard TD run in the second quarter to push the count to 45-0 by halftime.
“To run the football consistently, you have to have 11 people,” Bears coach Damon Wells said. “You know, it’s not just 11 people, because you have some scout-team kids who get hammered every week, too. It’s a testament to them as well. It’s a total buy-in. We’re happy right now, but we’ll get back to work in the morning.”
Kellin Leigh rushed for 107 yards on nine carries as part of a 447-yard rushing night for Rifle.
Zach Bare and Aaron Wagler had interceptions for the Bears, whose defense also enjoyed a rather efficient evening.
Raul Oyarzabal helped the Titans eschew a shutout with a 1-yard rushing score in the fourth quarter.
Chris Contreras had an interception for Coal Ridge.
So where do the Titans go from here?
“We go up,” first-year head coach Kyle Sager said. “There are a lot of things we need to work on to get better. There are a lot of things we need to shore up. A lot of guys played different positions tonight, and a lot of guys stepped in tonight against probably one of the best teams in 3A football. Give it to Rifle. They’ve got a great program over there.”
Friday’s game marked the third time the Re-2 schools have met in varsity contests. The Bears won last fall’s lightning-laced showdown at Coal Ridge, 21-14. In 2010, the Titans recorded a 13-6 victory in Rifle.
The Bears jump into 3A Western Slope League play next week with a trip to Moffat County, while Class 2A Coal Ridge will host 1A Meeker in a non-league affair.
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Roaring Fork Schools volunteers who have already completed a comparable background check through an approved entity would be good to go.