Rifle High football overpowers Moffat County 42-20 in homecoming victory

Rifle junior Isaac Valencia keeps his eyes upfield during Friday's matchup against the Moffat County Bulldogs.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

The Rifle Bears decidedly sealed a resounding 42-20 victory over the Moffat County Bulldogs on Friday to send the team off on a high note before homecoming festivities, set to take place at Rifle High on Saturday.

The Bulldogs managed to score first but were unsuccessful in their two-point conversion attempt. This initial setback didn’t dampen the spirits of the Bears, as their defense regained momentum early in the first quarter after an interception from sophomore Ryland Lane that lit a spark in the Rifle squad.

“I thought we came out slow but we progressed and overcame a lot of adversity and penalties,” Rifle head coach Ty Leyba said. His team’s response was nothing short of spectacular, exemplifying the resilience that has become synonymous with Rifle football.

Junior running back Isaac Valencia was the first to respond, scoring the initial touchdown for Rifle. Senior quarterback Logan Gross quickly followed, marking the team’s second and third touchdowns, and laying down a marker of the Bears’ offensive capabilities.

“This is our first league game and so we really felt that we just had to come out here and make a statement,” Valencia said. The two touchdowns under his belt underscored the statement Rifle intended to make.

The defense, not to be outdone, showcased their mettle. Senior Sterling Cook’s interception with just under a minute left in the first half was pivotal. Rifle senior Omar Silva’s interception and subsequent touchdown further before halftime illuminated the Bears’ strategic defense and opportunistic offense.

“Being a senior, this season means a lot to me,” Rifle lineman Troy Mataia said. 

Crowned homecoming king at halftime, Mataia expressed the importance of taking the victory during Friday night’s game.

“”I don’t have this game for much longer, so I’m excited to see what this team can do for the rest of the season and it’s a great feeling to be able to walk away with a win for my last homecoming game.”

Leyba echoed Mataia’s comments.

“We knew this was our homecoming game and I think these boys did a great job of not losing their focus,” Leyba noted. 

Injuries to Lane and Silva in the closing stages of the game were a concern, but the Bears showcased their depth and resilience. Gross connected with senior Tryston Sheets in the end zone, cementing a 42-13 victory that echoed the prowess of this year’s Rifle squad

Now 4-1 on the season, The Bears will next venture on the road, setting their sights on a clash with Basalt at 7 p.m. Friday.

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