Rifle heads to Craig in search of seventh win | PostIndependent.com

Rifle heads to Craig in search of seventh win

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

The rubber met the road for Rifle last week and the Bears steered clear of quite an obstacle in the form of Delta.

Tonight, Rifle’s improbable run at a 3A Western Slope League title continues with a trip to Moffat County.

Overcoming six turnovers and a stingy Delta defense, the Bears eked out a 14-10 win over the Panthers to improve to 6-1 last Friday.

After going a combined 7-13 the past two years, few predicted Rifle would sit atop the league standings this late in the season.

But that’s the nature of sports. Expectations mean nothing.

The well-bonded Bears are a selfless bunch who pay no mind to what the “experts” have to say.

“They’re a great group of kids,” head coach Damon Wells said after last week’s win. “There is absolutely no doubt that this is an absolutely selfless group of kids. They do believe the things we tell them and I think that belief has, hopefully, equaled a little bit of success for us.”

“We’re all sticking together,” Bears sophomore running back Ryan Moeller added. “We can’t do it unless we stick together. We could be 9-1. We could be 7-3. We could keep going. We could be a lot better, yeah.”

Rifle is chasing a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2007. To qualify for the 16-team state playoffs in Class 3A, you have to either win your league or land one of nine wild-card spots.

With games against Palisade, which is currently ranked third in the state in the Denver Post’s latest 3A rankings, next weekend and a trip to co-league leader Glenwood Springs in the Nov. 5 season finale, a challenging stretch run awaits the Bears.

But first things first. Tonight’s trip to Craig pits Rifle against a team that won a 40-34 shootout with Battle Mountain last week and is 3-4 overall.

Moffat County held on for a 21-16 win over the Bears last season.

A brutal stretch of schedule continues for Eagle Valley, which emerged on the wrong end of a 47-13 count against Palisade last week.

Tonight, the 2-4 Devils travel to face No. 6 Glenwood.

The Demons’ methodical march through the regular season continued with a 39-14 rout of Steamboat Springs last Friday.

At 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the 3A WSL, Glenwood is gunning for its third league title in four years.

After tangling with one of the 2A WSL’s elite squads last week, Coal Ridge gets a crack at another when Aspen visits Peach Valley tonight.

The 7-0 Skiers are the top-ranked team in 2A and are coming off a 37-7 win over Cedaredge.

The 5-2 Titans, who lost to No. 10 Olathe, 43-0, last week, need a strong finish to the season to nab one of Class 2A’s wild-card playoff spots.

Roaring Fork came alive in a big way last weekend, winning its second game of 2010 in blowout fashion.

The 2-5 Rams trampled visiting Gunnison, 40-6. Roaring Fork didn’t score its first points until midway through the second quarter, and then proceeded to go wild with a flurry of touchdowns.

Tonight, the Rams will head to Cedaredge, where they’ll face a 2-5 team that lost to Aspen, 37-7, last weekend.

Grand Valley’s playoff aspirations suffered a crushing blow with a 38-0 loss to Basalt last week.

Tonight, Class 2A’s No. 10 team, Olathe, visits Parachute as the Cardinals look to find their footing.

The Pirates, winners of four straight, scored a 43-0 win over Coal Ridge last week.


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