Big-game mood has cooled in some of the bitter battles
The spark’s still there. Yet, when it comes to football games between Glenwood and Rifle or Glenwood and Roaring Fork, they just aren’t “must see” events the way they used to be.Why? “Life has changed,” said Rifle High Dean of Students Mike Samson, a 1972 RHS grad, who more recently watched both his sons play against both area schools.”Back in the day it was a big-time rivalry. And it was a healthy rivalry,” Samson said, specially pointing at Rifle-Glenwood match ups. “It wasn’t a ‘let’s kill them – they kill us’ kind of a deal. We both wanted to win. But, that was a long time ago. Since then, things have changed a lot.”When I went to school, We all went to the same schools for 13 years. We wanted to beat Glenwood and they wanted to beat us,” he continued. “We all knew that and grew up with that. Now we have kids move in from New York, California, Louisiana – wherever it is. There’s no tradition for them because they’re new to the area.”Scott Bolitho, now a local Glenwood businessman, agrees.”From my perspective, it’s still a rivalry. It’s not as fierce as it was when I was playing 26 years ago,” he said. “Part of the reason is the Glenwood-Roaring Fork rivalry isn’t as big, because they are not in the same league anymore. There’s not that playoff implication. I think its more of a pride thing than anything else.”Bolitho said the annual game with Rifle was fierce in his prep days. But he saw a change in feeling toward the contest with the Bears when his sons played for GSHS 15 years later.”I started to see the shift when my boys entered high school,” he said. “However, when my older son was a junior, that year they played Rifle tough. It was a good football game. I started to see some spark again.”Still, the spark has yet to translate to Glenwood’s community at-large.”There’s too much to do in town anymore,” Bolitho explained. “We have access to a lot of things and we have mobility that’s a lot better than it was when I was growing up. I don’t think people look at a Friday night football game as the main attraction any more. It’s too bad, because I’d like (the community) to come out and support the local kids, and have that community pride and spirit and let the kids know they are behind them.”While the game is still well-attended. No extra security measures are needed to quell rabid fans on either side of the schools’ football fields.”We don’t do anything special. There’s no extra precautions or more administrative staff,” said Samson. “It’s not to downplay it. We don’t worry about having more people – it’s the same for every game. We have great student participation, but to most of the kids is just another football game.”Both schools’ football teams have a different slant on the game. Rifle-Glenwood has more on the line for the two schools, since they play in the same league, with a potential state playoff berth riding on the outcome.Rifle, recently played Roaring Fork in football. The series was dropped last year.Glenwood continues to face their Carbondale neighbors on the gridiron, along with basketball, even though the two high schools have played in different classifications for more than a decade.Samson and Bolitho both hope some of the fervor surrounding either of the football games returns. Yet, they don’t see it happening too soon.”It’s a real fun community event the people can go out to and have a good time and watch kids put it all out there and give it there best to accomplish something,” Bolitho said.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.