Turnovers pave title path for Raptors
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
AURORA, Colorado – Andre Apodaca could have taken time to brag after his late interception of Adam Rice that helped cap Silver Creek’s Class 3A state title on Saturday.
It was the third interception of the day for the Raptors and the fourth turnover by Rifle. But Apodaca, the Silver Creek junior linebacker whose post on Twitter early in the week raised eyebrows statewide, took a different approach after the game.
“No, I think it’s just nice inside here,” he said, patting his chest. “I don’t need to brag about it. The state will know. They’ll know.”
Apodaca’s post, inspired by the movie, “Miracle,” featured the following words: “Their time is done; it’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great football team Rifle has.”
Rifle found out just how stout Silver Creek’s defense was during the Raptors’ 32-15 victory at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. Silver Creek switched up defensive fronts throughout the game, preventing the Bears from popping off any of the long scoring plays they’d become accustomed to producing all season long.
That confusion turned into turnovers and kept the game’s momentum in Silver Creek’s favor for almost the entire game.
“The whole defensive scheme they had, we weren’t really prepared for. It was a lot different than what we thought we would get,” senior quarterback Adam Rice said. “We made adjustments at halftime and we started to get rolling, but it ended up being too little, too late.”
Rice said the defensive fronts and blitz schemes Silver Creek showed against them were different then what they viewed on film prior to the game. Asked if that made a difference in the number of turnovers the Raptors forced, Rice replied: “A little bit, but they just played better then us today. I’ll bet if we played each other 10 times, we’d go 5-5. It was all a matter of who had the momentum today.”
And, with Silver Creek finishing with zero turnovers, Rifle’s miscues quashed much of the momentum the Bears built during the game.
The first was inconsequential, as Collin Gibbs’ second-quarter interception of Rice resulted in a three-and-out possession for Silver Creek. But Rifle, trailing 14-7, got the ball back on its own 5 and drove to Silver Creek’s 26 in an effort to tie the game before halftime. But, on a second-and-10 play from the 26, Silver Creek’s Robert Teinken forced a fumble by Rice at the 39, and Silver Creek’s Jeremy Metivier recovered with 17.9 seconds remaining.
Four plays later – thanks, in part, to a 15-yard, late-hit penalty called against Rifle – Ryan Charles nailed a 50-yard field goal as time expired to give Silver Creek a 17-7 halftime lead.
The Bears did get that momentum back, pulling within 26-15 on a 2-yard touchdown run from Ryan Moeller and a two-point conversion pass from Rice to Kellin Leigh. Rifle then got a stop on defense when Charles’ 46-yard field goal sailed wide right, but a halfback pass from Moeller was intercepted by Silver Creek’s Ross Fitzgerald five plays later, and Ben Sjobakken’s 25-yard strike to Trey Fleming with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left essentially sealed it.
Apodaca’s interception of Rice followed, and Silver Creek began to celebrate its state championship while ending the longest single-season win streak in Rifle High School history. The Bears finished up the season 13-1.
“Turnovers are always tough to overcome, especially in a game like this against a team that good,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said. “We were down 11 and had a chance, but didn’t get it done. Ultimately, that’s my responsibility, and we didn’t get it done.”
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