Rifle’s power game, ball control frustrates Eagle Valley, 7-6
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado – There was nothing wrong with the Eagle Valley Devils Friday that a faith healer couldn’t cure.
Both Devils place kickers were injured, and Eagle Valley took a 7-6 homecoming loss to Rifle.
Eagle Valley spent about as much time in the red zone as AIG’s balance sheet, but came away as empty handed as an AIG stockholder.
The heartbreaker, though, was a fourth-an-4 just four-and-a-half yards from the end zone in the fourth quarter. They turned the ball over on downs just two feet from a touchdown.
A field goal attempt was out of the question for the same reasons as a PAT.
“It’s tough to lose like this,” Ramunno said. “Especially after we took the opening drive down the field and scored.”
Tanner Hollis capped a 62-yard drive with a 3-yard run as Eagle Valley drew first blood for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Devils rolled like a Peterbilt all night long, but penalties and turnovers kept them out of the end zone.
The Bears answered with a Kenworth of their own, and some luck.
On third-and-15 from their own 40-yard line and their drive faltering, Bears quarterback Keaton Deere fumbled into the loving arms of Bears lineman Kyle Shaw, who carried it 30 yards down to the Eagle Valley 30 for a first down.
Rifle powered down to the 5 where it looked like Eagle Valley’s goal line stand would turn the Bears away like a batch of bad intentions. But an Eagle Valley facemask penalty put the Bears back in business.
Deere scored on a quarterback keeper and the extra point made it 7-6 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
“It’s all them, it’s all the guys up front,” Deere said. “I just followed A.J. Cordova and the rest of them into the end zone.”
Early in the fourth quarter, an Eagle Valley drive ran out of steam near midfield, but David Macias’s 53 yard punt pinned Rifle at its own 3-yard line.
Four plays later, Rifle’s punt from its own end zone flopped through night sky like a shot duck and Eagle was back in business at the Rifle 32.
Two Matt Kottenstette carries moved the Devils to the 10, Hollis punched it down the gut to the 4, and that was about the time Eagle Valley could have used that faith healer.
On fourth-and-goal from the 4, a run wide right put the Devils on the doorstep, but they turned it over on downs at the Rifle one.
Rifle refused to be pinned down again and cranked up the power game. The Bears took it straight up the middle and straight down the field 80 yards.
Facing a fourth and-2 from the Eagle Valley 22 with a minute and a half left, the Bears powered six yards for the game-winning first down as they ran out the clock.
“Nothing makes me happier than an 18-play, 10-minute drive,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said.
“They can’t score if they’re not out there. It wasn’t the fanciest high school football game ever played. Eagle Valley is a good football team and they played hard. You have to play well to beat one of John Ramunno’s teams. They’re always well prepared.”
Eagle Valley is at Delta next week, while Rifle hosts Steamboat on Friday.
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