Entire backfield earns honors for Rifle High School football team
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Call them the Four Horsemen of Rifle, if you will.
Actually, make it five.
Rifle High School’s football team was well recognized when the Class 3A Western Slope League all-conference team was announced on Monday. On it was the entire starting backfield of the Bears, who finished the season with a share of the league championship.
It’s the third consecutive season Rifle has either won or shared the WSL championship. The Bears won the league title outright in 2011 and 2012.
In all, Rifle had seven first-team award winners — the same as co-league champ Palisade. All-league awards are determined by coaches in the league before the start of the Class 3A state playoffs.
And each of the Bears’ main ball carriers — all five of them — were named to the first team.
Rifle’s offense finished its 11-game season — a season where the Bears went 8-3 and shared the league championship with Palisade — with 4,522 yards of total offense. Of that, 3,807 came on the ground.
One of those Rifle backs was the quarterback, junior Layton Stutsman. He finished the season with 209 rushing yards and was 41-for-93 passing for 715 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions.
Leading the rushing game was senior Kellin Leigh, who finished with 1,162 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, averaging 11.39 yards per carry. Right behind him was senior Javier Nunez, 984 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Not far behind him was Brock Clark, a junior, who had 891 rushing yards and 11 TDs.
Oh, and there was also Bailey Hoffmeister, whose 286 rushing yards and seven TDs only added to that big total of rushing yards.
All five earned first-team recognition on the WSL’s all-conference team.
They’re not the only ones who were recognized when the awards were released, however.
Also earning first-team accolades was junior Austin Shepard, whose 99 total tackles as a linebacker for the Bears was a team high. Tanner Quick also earned first-team accolades as a tight end and defensive end.
Four other Rifle football players earned honorable mentions on the all-league team: seniors Zack Bare and Clayton Coombs, and juniors Cody Rice and Jose Prado.
That means the Bears will have a total of five players — and three first-team award winners — slated to return for Rifle in the 2014 season.
The Bears will need them. Two new teams — Grand Junction Central and Summit — will likely be joining the league for the Colorado High School Activities Association’s upcoming two-year classification cycle through 2016, with Battle Mountain and Montezuma-Cortez dropping down a classification. The final decision on that is slated to be made by CHSAA’s Classification and League Organizing Committee today.
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