Rifle runs past Steamboat in 56-0 rout
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – A tireless work ethic and a love of football is what Rifle is known for around the 3A Western Slope League.
Just ask Steamboat Springs head coach Lonn Clementson, whose team witnessed firsthand just how good the Bears are in a 56-0 loss to them in Rifle on Friday.
“I can’t say enough about how hard their players play and how much they love the game,” the Sailors’ third-year frontman said. “We’d like to get to that point at some point. I think they’re going to go far.”
From the film room to the weight room to the practice field, the Bears certainly put in the work.
“It feels like a full-time job sometimes,” Rifle junior running back Kellin Leigh said with a grin. “But it’s all worth it.”
Leigh and senior backfield mate Ryan Moeller combined to rush for 246 yards as Rifle scored early and often against the Sailors. The mercy rule kicked into effect when the Bears pushed their lead to 42-0 with nearly four minutes left in the second quarter. That meant a running clock the rest of the night.
Of those 246 yards, Moeller had 159 yards on just 12 carries. The state’s leading rusher ran in three touchdowns, caught a dump-off pass from quarterback Adam Rice and took it 57 yards for a score and also returned a punt 74 yards for a TD.
Leigh finished with 87 yards and a score on a mere seven carries. His 41-yard score on the Bears’ first offensive play from scrimmage, which followed a fumble recovery by teammate Zach Bare, set the tone for the night.
Rifle’s Bailey Hoffmeister recovered a fumble to end Steamboat’s next drive. That eventually led to a 3-yard TD run by Moeller that made it 14-0 with 9 minutes, 52 seconds left on the first-quarter clock.
“You certainly can’t turn the ball over like that to begin with, and you can’t do that against the No. 1 team in the state,” Clementson said. “You can’t give them the ball. We knew they were going to be incredibly hard to stop.”
The Bears, now 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the 3A WSL, is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A in the latest Denver Post poll. They’re also 3A’s top team in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s wild-card points standings, which uses wins and strength of schedule to rank teams for playoff seeding.
“We’re taking it game by game,” Moeller said. “I definitely think we’re getting better as a team.”
Aside from Moeller’s five total TDs and Leigh’s game-opening score, Rice scored on a 17-yard keeper and Keimi Payan rumbled in from 6 yards out for a TD.
On defense, Cody Beauford delivered an interception that ran out the clock on the first half.
“We’re proud of our kids,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said. “We’re proud of their effort. We’re proud of their execution. Steamboat has some talented kids. Hats off to them for fighting every step of the way.”
Quarterback Christian Ramirez finished with 84 yards on 10-of-18 passing for the Sailors, who dipped to 3-5 overall and to 2-5 in league play. Skyler Kauf caught three passes for 40 yards and Mitch McCannon had 36 yards on four receptions.
The Bears held Steamboat to just Ramirez’s 84 passing yards and minus 7 yards on the ground.
Next up for the Sailors is a visit from Lutheran next week. Rifle will be in action at Delta.
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