Rifle renews longtime football rivalry with Glenwood Springs
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
One team seems to be on the upswing, and has been for a while. The other team is heading in the direction it didn’t want to be heading at this point.
That team on the upswing, Rifle, has outscored its opponents 106-6 in its first two games. The other team, Glenwood Springs, has lost its initial two games to a pair of ranked opponents.
The winless start for Glenwood Springs was exactly what the Demons didn’t want, as players and coaches emphasized prior to the season how the first three games would set the tone for their season. They might have their work cut out for them on Friday, though, as Glenwood (0-2 overall, 0-1 Class 3A Western Slope League) will host a team from Rifle (2-0, 1-0) that has won 22 consecutive regular-season games.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on two radio stations, KMTS, 99.1FM, and KRGS, 690AM.
Glenwood Springs has won four of the past six meetings with the Bears, but Rifle has won the past two meetings between the two longtime rivals. Since the Demons returned from their 1997 season, when the school fielded only a junior varsity football team, Rifle owns a 10-5 advantage in the series.
Rifle blew the game open early in the Bears’ 62-0 victory over Moffat County this past Friday. The Bears carried the ball just 23 times, but they amassed 477 rushing yards and eight touchdowns en route to building a 43-0 halftime lead. Kellin Leigh was the team’s leading rusher in the game against the Bulldogs, tallying 152 yards on just four carries, including an 89-yard touchdown. Leigh now has 244 yards and five touchdowns on eight carries for the season, averaging 30.5 yards per carry.
Not to be outdone, Rifle has seen stellar performances from Brock Clark (179 yards on nine carries) and Javier Nunez (232 yards on 14 carries). In all, the Bears are averaging 16.86 yards per carry as a team, and quarterback Layton Stutsman (8-of-14 passing, 112 yards, two TDs) has also been solid.
Defensively, the only score came against Rifle’s second-team defense in the Bears’ 54-6 season-opening victory over Coal Ridge on Aug. 30, when Jerome Pizelli’s TD reception as time expired helped the Titans avoid the shutout. What’s more, Rifle’s defense has forced seven turnovers (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries) while its offense has yet to turn the ball over.
Glenwood Springs, however, showed signs of improvement since its season-opening 14-0 loss to then fifth-ranked Conifer on Aug. 23. In the Demons’ 34-18 loss to the Bulldogs in Grand Junction on Sept. 5, Glenwood Springs was in the game throughout the first half and, save a questionable pass interference penalty late in the first half, might have had a first-half lead against the Bulldogs as opposed to being down 13-3. But Palisade, thanks to its historically good running game, pulled away from Glenwood Springs in the second half.
The Demons showed some big-strike capabilities, as quarterback Travis Lundin hit Evrett Marr for a 45-yard touchdown pass to cap the scoring with eight seconds remaining against Palisade. Lundin finished with 145 yards passing, but his two interceptions against the Bulldogs gave him five for the season. Henry Hill finished with 47 yards on 17 carries, and Derrick Chase blocked a Palisade punt in the second half that set up his subsequent 2-yard TD run to bring the Demons within 20-10.
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