Bears roll to 49-7 win over Devils
Playing their first game in the state’s 2A football classification, the Rifle Bears took care of business against an old league foe, the 3A Eagle Valley Devils, by an impressive count of 49-7 on Friday night at Bears’ Stadium.
With the decisive win, the Bears presented Head Coach Damon Wells with his 100th victory at the helm of the always successful Rifle program. Following the victory, Wells was reluctant to talk about the milestone in terms of an individual achievement, choosing rather to speak of the impressive process as a family-type award with many people to thank along the way.
“All that this means is that I have been blessed to hit the lottery in being around a lot of good kids and coaches,” said Wells. “The community support here is great, and I love being a part of this football tradition in Rifle.”
In a game that was a mismatch from the get-go, the Bears put the pressure on Eagle Valley immediately as Rifle sophomore defensive back Bryce Rowley pounced on a Devil fumble on just the second play of the game to set up the home team in prime scoring position at the opponent’s 10-yard line.
Junior running back Levi Warfel then burst into the end zone from 5 yards out to put Rifle up 7-0 following the PAT by senior Eddie Ruiz.
The Bears would quickly up the score to 9-0 on a safety, when the ball was hiked over the head of the Eagle Valley punter and sailed out of the back of the Devil end zone on a miscue that would build even more on Rifle’s early momentum.
Rifle’s second possession of the evening saw senior running back Tanner Vines grind out some major yardage downfield, before Warfel scored again, this time on a short sweep to the left side of the line to give the Bears a 15-0 lead.
Eagle Valley’s only offensive spark on the night came late in the first quarter when the Devils recovered a Rifle fumble deep in Bear territory at the 5-yard line. From there, quarterback Jesse Moser was able to hit wide receiver Matt Lee for the touchdown, and the only Eagle Valley score of the night to make it 15-7.
The score went to 21-7 with 11:28 to go in the second quarter of play, when Rifle quarterback Holden Stutsman faked a handoff and spotted Warfel wide open for a 37-yard touchdown toss down the middle of the field.
With the Devils now getting stifled on defense and bowled over on the offensive end, it was Vines, who combined with Warfel to race all over the field on the Devils, who burst 6 yards up the middle of the line for a TD as the rout was on at 27-7.
With senior Joel Lopez also contributing some key ground gains, Vines went up the middle again for a 25 yard score, which was followed by another Stutsman TD strike, this time to senior Dalton Pruett as the score stood at 42-7 at intermission.
The Bears would score early in the second half to make it 49-7 as the mercy rule running clock made quick work of the second half. Reserves took over for both teams, but neither the Bears or Devils would mount a serious scoring threat before time expired.
Rifle will swing back into action next Thursday, September 6, with a short road trip to Parachute to take on the Grand Valley Cardinals