Rifle football starts season with loss to Palisade; Glenwood, Grand Valley win big
The defending state champion Rifle Bears were stunned on their home turf Friday as they suffered a 35-3 loss to perennial Class 3A powerhouse Palisade.
Rifle kept it close through the first half, trailing 6-3 in what started as a defensive battle. But the Bulldogs broke it open in the third quarter and outscored the defending champs from the modified 3A spring season 29-0 to secure the win.
Palisade juniors Phallen Salvati and Rhett Ward combined for 255 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Junior quarterback Malakhi Espinosa also scrambled for 105 yards in the Bulldogs’ blistering ground attack, and Palisade had three sacks and two pass interceptions on the night.
Rifle statistics were not posted to Maxpreps.com/Colorado.
Up next, the 0-1 Bears host Glenwood Springs, 41-13 winners on the road Friday at Harrison, at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 (stats not immediately available).
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Glenwood, Grand Valley win
Elsewhere this weekend, Class 1A Grand Valley crushed the visiting Olathe Pirates 42-8 at home; 3A Glenwood Springs rolled to a 41-14 win on the road at Harrison; and the 1A Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale fell in their season opener at Ignacio, 50-20.
The Glenwood Demons, who look to challenge Palisade in the 3A Western Slope League this season, led 21-0 at the half and never looked back.
Senior Ray Rosenmerkel had 152 rushing yards on the night and scored three of the Demons’ touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Joaquin Sandoval also scrambled in for two touchdowns, and senior Blake Nieslanik scored one rushing TD in the win.
At Parachute, Cardinals senior Emilio Garcia ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns in the win, and junior Steven Hicks scored two rushing touchdowns. Hicks also threw for 116 yards, connecting with junior Colton Clark for another touchdown.
Roaring Fork shows promise in loss
Playing its first fall season at the 1A level following a varsity hiatus since 2017 and a winless spring season in the modified 2A division, Roaring Fork looks to rebound this fall.
Matching their entire point total from the abbreviated spring season, the Rams got two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Max Bollock, plus a ferocious 35-yard TD run by senior Blake Thomas.
But, the Rams fell short of victory as a more customary fall ’21 season commenced Saturday afternoon at non-conference Ignacio.
With the visiting Rams trailing 16-0 after one quarter, Thomas got the guests on scoreboard with 7:12 left until halftime, hauling in a 41-yard Bollock throw. Bollock’s attempted conversion toss to junior Zane Garcia, however, went incomplete and Fork (0-1, 0-0 1A Western Slope) would go into intermission trailing 28-6.
After the Bobcats (1-0, 0-0 1A Southern Peaks) began the second half marching 56 yards in nine plays and 2:53, with senior bulldozer Tyler Barnes crashing into the end zone from three yards out, the Rams responded with a time-draining 12-play, 53-yard drive capped by Garcia bobbling a Bollock throw into the end zone, falling facefirst, then twisting onto his back to complete an 11-yard TD catch. He would then snare Bollock’s two-point dart, bringing RFHS back to 34-14 with 2:53 left in the third.
IHS answered with an all-run, six-play, 68-yard push polished off by a 33-yard John Riepel touchdown tote with 11:48 left in the fourth quarter, and Barnes plowing in for the extra two points.
After Thomas’s touchdown, the Rams still trailed 42-20 with 10:30 remaining. And following a 21-yard Devante Montoya kickoff return, Ignacio struck back with a game-clinching four-play, 59-yard drive capped by a 43-yard Barnes blast through the heart of the gridiron. Riepel then carried in the conversion, rebuilding the lead to 30 points with just 7:48 left.
Bollock finished with over 150 yards through the air and was not intercepted. Thomas, who took two snaps under center just before halftime after Bollock was briefly shaken up, unofficially tallied 78 yards rushing on 10 carries.
— Joel Priest, Durango Herald
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It may be by a technicality, but the Valley Valkyries 7s rugby club were the de facto champions of their hosted tournament this weekend.