The rubber about to meet the road for Rifle |

The rubber about to meet the road for Rifle

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jordan Hirro Special to the Post Independent

Rifle’s football team, 5-1 and tied for first place in the 3A Western Slope League, will find out what it’s made of when Delta visits Bears Stadium tonight.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Rifle head coach Damon Wells said after last Friday’s 26-7 win over Steamboat Springs.

Tonight’s engagement between defensive-minded squads will go a long way in shaping the league race.

At 3-0 in 3A WSL play, Rifle is currently tied with Glenwood for first place. At 2-1 in league and 4-2 overall, Delta sits in a tie for third with Palisade.

On paper, the Panthers and Bears boast similar statistics. Rifle’s outscored opponents, 120-70, with Delta outgunning foes by a count of 124-91.

The Panthers are coming off a 30-0 win over Eagle Valley last week. Back on Oct. 1, the Bears eked out a 7-6 win over Eagle Valley.

The teams’ only other common opponent is Steamboat Springs, a team Delta snuck past, 10-7.

It’s reasonably safe to assume Wells isn’t dwelling on stats or results against common opponents. His focus is inward.

“Honestly, and I know it sounds cliche and I know it’s not fancy, but we truly talk about it. What we say is we want to get a little better each day,” he said. “We don’t talk about playoffs and stuff like that.”

Whether they’re talking about it or not, a win over Delta tonight would certainly boost the Bears’ playoff chances.

Glenwood Springs treks north to face Steamboat Springs tonight. Once fierce rivals, these two programs couldn’t be having more opposite seasons.

The Sailors, reigning league champs and state runner-ups in Class 3A last year, have fallen on hard times. In posting an 0-6 record, they have been outscored 39-170.

Glenwood, owner of the sixth spot in the most recent batch of Denver Post 3A rankings, is flying high with a 5-1 overall record. At 3-0, the Demons are perched atop the 3A WSL standings alongside Rifle.

Like Rifle, its fellow Garfield School District Re-2 school, Coal Ridge’s schedule takes a turn for the tough this week.

The 5-1 Titans are bound for No. 10 Olathe tonight. The Pirates, 2A WSL champs the past two seasons, are 4-2.

Coal Ridge is in uncharted territory in its fifth year of varsity play. The 2010 Titans already have more wins than they’ve ever amassed in a season, topping 2008’s 4-6 effort.

Olathe, the Class 2A state champion in 2008, has never lost to Coal Ridge.

After last week’s 7-0 win over Gunnison, Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said his team needs to win virtually every game from here on out to have a shot at the postseason.

Tonight, that quest resumes with a trip to Basalt.

Both teams enter Week 7 action with a 3-3 record. Both are 1-2 in 2A WSL play.

Last week, the Longhorns lost to No. 1 Aspen, 24-3.

Roaring Fork looks to return to the win column for the first time since Sept. 10 when Gunnison visits Carbondale tonight.

The 1-5 Rams have lost four straight since taking down Battle Mountain, 42-20, in Week 2.

Gunnison (3-3) has scored just six points in its last two games.

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