Rifle shut down by Silver Creek
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – Silver Creek didn’t move the ball all that much on offense outside the first and fourth quarters.
Turns out, what the Raptors did in those first and last frames provided plenty enough offense to nail down a 13-2 football win at Rifle on Friday.
Two scoring drives, one on its first possession of the game and the other on its second-to-last series of the night, were the difference for Silver Creek in what proved to be a physical, defense-dominated affair.
A safety and a combined four turnovers flavored both teams’ season opener, a game that hung in the balance until a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austin Apodaca to Branden Hunt with 2 minutes, 44 seconds left put the Bears away.
Apodaca’s toss capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive.
“We just told the offensive line that we’re going to finish this, that we didn’t come five hours to lose this game,” said Apodaca, whose team made the trek all the way from Longmont for the game. “We were motivated to get the ball down the field and win the game.”
That’s just what the Raptors did in scoring their first TD since the 8:11 mark in the first quarter, when a 68-yard opening march ended with a 6-yard rushing score by Keenan Olson.
That would be the only offense Silver Creek would need on a night its defense held the Bears to just 77 yards of total offense and picked off a pair of passes.
“They just out-physicaled us,” Rifle coach Ryan Sulkowski lamented.
True to their coach’s words, the Bears never really did muster much offensively, managing just five first downs.
Defense was a different story.
Rifle’s only points came via a safety late in the second quarter. With the Raptors pinned back at their own 4-yard line, lineman Tyler Davis chased down a scrambling Apodaca in the end zone.
A play earlier, defensive back Matt Barrett sacked Apodaca for a 10-yard loss to push Silver Creek into dangerous territory.
Barrett also came up with an interception on the night. Caleb Lenard had a fumble recover and James Martinez and Mike Todd linked up on a sack that cost the Raptors 14 yards early in the first quarter.
“On defense, they played lights out,” Sulkowski lauded. “On offense, we stressed not turning the ball over. We did a decent job of that, but penalties killed us.”
The Bears committed eight penalties for 60 yards on the night.
“We’ll come out here Monday and we’ll practice, we’ll see where our mistakes were,” Sulkowski said.
James Martinez led Sulkowski’s Bears with 32 yards on 13 carries. Tyrel Lenard added 13 yards on nine carries and quarterback Joe Burgess finished the night with 18 yards on 3-of-16 passing.
Apodaca finished with 116 yards and a TD through the air for the Raptors. He completed 7 of 15 passes. Olson ran for 64 yards on 12 totes and Conrad Ottem had 61 yards on seven carries. Will Chavis caught three passes for 58 yards for the Raptors.
Next up for Silver Creek is a road date with Northridge on Thursday. Rifle will host Moffat County on Friday.
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