Bears’ arsenal includes pass rush, kicking |

Bears’ arsenal includes pass rush, kicking

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

RIFLE, Colo. – Sifting through dozens of weapons housed in Rifle’s football team, two players have looked especially sharp this season.While their offensive skills may stand out more on score sheets, Cody Boe and Ryan McIntosh are now standing out on the defensive side of the ball, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses and making Rifle’s defense just as pungent as the Bears’ high-powered offense.Boe, a senior tight end/defensive end, was the go-to man for Rifle quarterback Tyler Gose last season. As a traditional tight end, Boe used his size, strength and rock-steady hands to reel in 10-yard receptions before muscling through defenders for extra yards.

This season, Boe is still the Bears’ go-to target, but with Rifle’s grounded offense, the result has only been one or two receptions each game. So, Boe has started to leave his mark on defense, as he did in Rifle’s 35-10 win over Elizabeth in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Saturday. In the first half the Cardinals’ offense had been charging down the field at will, carried by what was previously thought to be a nonexistent passing game. But Boe came out on a mission for the final two quarters. The objective: To shut down quarterback Ethan Mckinney. The result: Major devastation to Elizabeth’s aerial attack.

Boe pressured Mckinney, who completed 11 passes in the first half and only two in the second, so much that the sophomore QB only had a moment to decide what to do with the ball. And if he held onto it for a fraction more than the allotted time, Boe punished him by unleashing one of his three sacks in the game.By the fourth quarter, Boe had been breathing down Mckinney’s neck so much that Mckinney was too scared to run his offense.Shutting down receivers and giving Boe more time to harass Mckinney was Rifle’s defensive back Ryan McIntosh, who covered wide receivers like Champ Bailey in the secondary. McIntosh dished out hits similar to the Broncos’ Pro Bowl cornerback when receivers did catch the ball, hitting one Cardinal so hard he couldn’t hang onto the ball.

Opponents may have thought they could beat McIntosh, who is hampered by a a soft cast on his right arm that protects a bone in his wrist broken in a practice on Oct. 26. But after taking a McIntosh hit or after failing to fake him out, he forced them to think again. Since fracturing the bone, McIntosh has adjusted to the cast with help of a shortened portion covering his thumb that allows for limited mobility. Not even Mckinney could escape from McIntosh’s coverage, as he found out in the third quarter when the senior sneaked by Elizabeth’s offensive line for a sack on Mckinney that resulted in a fumble. McIntosh almost added an interception to his stats, but instead fellow Bear Derek Kassak came up with it first, leaving a sliding McIntosh with empty hands.”I got robbed, but I would rather give it to Derek – he’s a sophomore and he deserves it,” McIntosh said. “I’m glad he got it.”Although his defense has turned heads lately, McIntosh, who only played his first season of football last year, originally joined the team because of his kicking abilities.

A soccer player since age three, McIntosh strengthened his leg by competing with older brothers on the soccer field. On the gridiron, his soccer skills have transformed to make him one of the surest extra-point kickers in the state.His ability to split the uprights for field goals isn’t too shabby either, as No. 15 has converted a 37-yarder this season and hit a 33-yard game-winner in the closing seconds of Rifle’s 13-10 win over Glenwood on Sept. 22.As Rifle enters the final stretch of the Class 3A state playoffs, McIntosh, who has kicked FGs as long as 50-yards in practice, could give the Bears a small boost toward coming out on top in close games. And like most successful kickers, McIntosh claims to have nerves of steel in those nail-biting situations.”Against Glenwood I had no nerves, I was just excited,” he said. “I’m really not worried about (the pressure). I know the line’s there and they’re going to block.”Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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