Rifle’s Moeller putting up unreal numbers
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Rifle High School’s football program does not have complete statistical records for a history that spans more than 70 years.
That said, it’s hard to imagine another player matching – or even approaching – the statistical exploits of senior running back Ryan Moeller.
After exploding for 414 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 45-0 win at Moffat County last week, Moeller is up to 666 yards and has found the end zone 10 times. Of those 10 scores, five are from more than 60 yards out and eight are from 20 yards and beyond.
And that’s in two – yes, two – games of work.
Vision, strength and breakaway speed are all physical traits that make Moeller a special athlete. Perhaps his most impressive trait, says Rifle head coach Damon Wells, is his attitude.
“The most special thing about Ryan is that he is a great teammate,” Wells lauded. “Aside from being different athletically, he is one of the guys at practice and in the weight room. He is the first one to give credit to others. He totally understands that he hasn’t accomplished anything by himself. He also understands everyone’s plan is to stop him. That is tough to deal with sometimes.”
Moeller’s Bears, who are in their second week atop the 3A rankings in the Denver Post football poll, have been tough for opponents to deal with so far in 2012. They’ve scored 90 points and surrendered just six in two wins.
But Rifle isn’t celebrating what’s been achieved thus far. There’s still a lot of season to go, and a visit from Glenwood Springs tonight is next for the Bears.
“The ranking is great, but we aren’t printing any T-shirts,” Wells proclaimed. “Our world consists of Glenwood and one another this week. We just hope to be the best we can be this Friday.”
Success is something that has eluded Glenwood Springs so far in 2012. Season-opening losses to No. 5 Conifer (42-19) and to No. 2 Palisade (33-7) have the Demons in a 0-2 hole.
“All you can do is kind of circle the wagons and just keep playing, keep grinding, keep getting better,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said. “That’s our mantra at this time. We’ve got to improve again this week.”
It won’t be easy against the Bears.
“They are such a talented team,” Whitworth said. “They have such great speed. They have a very,very good team defense, and they have the best running back I’ve seen in a while.”
What makes Moeller so effective in Whitworth’s eyes?
“He reads his blocks, especially on the perimeter,” the veteran coach said. “He waits and lets the blocks take place, and he has that very important ability to accelerate once through the secondary. He’s just a talented back that happens to have very good speed. He’s the best guy we’ve seen in a long time.”
The Demons, who have been battling injury issues, are inching closer to full health. There’s a good chance junior running back Henry Hill, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, will return from a back injury tonight. He’s a game-time decision.
“We’re starting to get a little more healthy,” said Whitworth, whose squad has had to constantly reshuffle personnel to compensate.
Regardless of Glenwood’s slow start, Wells knows better than to expect an easy go of it tonight.
“Glenwood is a very good football team,” he said. “They have a tremendous staff, and their kids play hard. It will be very, very difficult to be successful this Friday night.”
Kickoff between the 3A Western Slope League rivals is slated for 7 p.m. at Bears Stadium.
Grand Valley, off to a 2-0 start, travels to face a vulnerable Olathe squad that has a surprising 0-2 record.
Tyler Scott threw a pair of TD passes and Jacob White ran for three scores and had a TD catch to lift the Cardinals to a 38-13 win over visiting Paonia last Friday.
The defending 2A WSL champion Pirates, meanwhile, lost to a Class 1A school for the second straight week with a 41-18 defeat at Cedaredge.
Tonight’s game in Olathe kicks off at 7 p.m. and is the league opener for both teams.
After tonight’s game against visiting Monte Vista, Roaring Fork will have a better idea of where it stands in the Class 1A football landscape.
Monte Vista (2-0) nabbed Class 1A’s No. 6 spot in the latest Denver Post poll, in which media members and coaches from throughout the state cast votes.
The Rams, who dropped from the 2A classification into the 1A ranks this season, enter the week with a 1-1 record. They lost to Aspen last week, 28-7.
“It’ll be kind of like a 1A playoff game for us,” Roaring Fork coach Tory Jensen said after last week’s game against the Skiers. “We get to find out where we’re at in the 1A world.”
Coal Ridge jumps into 2A WSL play at Gunnison tonight.
The Titans leveled their record at 1-1 last week with a 39-20 win over visiting Meeker. It was the first win for the team’s first-year head coach Kyle Sager.
Gunnison dropped to 0-2 last week with a 33-0 loss to Monte Vista.
• Travis Lundin, Glenwood Springs – 173 yards on 22-of-36 passing vs. Palisade
• Tyler Scott, Grand Valley – Two TD passes vs. Paonia
• Ryan Moeller, Rifle – 414 yards and five TDs on 20 carries vs. Moffat County
• Derrick Chase, Glenwood Springs – 75 yards on 11 carries vs. Palisade
• Jake White, Grand Valley – Three TD runs vs. Paonia
• Tanner Zimmerman, Grand Valley – TD run vs. Paonia
• Chris Contreras, Coal Ridge – 145 yards and a TD on 19 carries vs. Meeker
• Michael Shaw, Coal Ridge – 36 yards and two TDs on seven carries vs. Meeker
• Grant Fegan, Glenwood Springs – 72 yards on six catches vs. Palisade
• Jake White, Grand Valley – TD reception vs. Paonia
• Trent Reidle, Grand Valley – TD reception vs. Paonia
• Christian Keith, Coal Ridge – 83 yards on three catches vs. Meeker
• Cody Beauford, Rifle – 11 tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Moffat County
• Nick Kosht, Rifle – Eight tackles vs. Moffat County
• Lee Harrison, Rifle – Fumble recovery vs. Moffat County
• Keimi Payan, Rifle – Fumble recovery vs. Moffat County
• Cole Zywiec, Coal Ridge – 14 tackles, fumble recovery vs. Meeker
• Christian Keith, Coal Ridge – Interception vs. Meeker
• Jared Weller, Coal Ridge – Fumble recovery, interception vs. Meeker
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