Bears come from behind to beat Eagle Valley
GYPSUM – Rifle escaped a 14-7 third quarter deficit, rallying behind its strong running game to score two touchdowns in the final 13 minutes, downing Eagle Valley 21-14 on Friday night to remain undefeated (6-0) in Class 3A Western Slope League play.Tyler Thompson tied the game at 14 with a 1-yard run as the final seconds expired in the third quarter. Rifle’s defense held the Devils to a three-and-out series on the following possession, leaving the Bears with a little under eight minutes to score.Rifle needed only three minutes, marching down the field on runs from Colby McFarlin and Thompson, a reverse to Nick Alderson and finally an 8-yard McFarlin touchdown to win the game.”Our kids played like crazy, they picked me up tonight,” said Rifle head coach Damon Wells. “They did a great job.”Rifle’s defense stood its ground once again, not allowing the Devils to gain a single yard on their next possession and again forcing them to punt with 3:23 remaining. Thompson carried the Bears the rest of the way, eating up yards and the clock until Rifle could finally kneel and seal the victory.Rifle got on the board first at the end of the first quarter when McFarlin charged into the end zone on a 2-yard run. After intercepting a Derek Fruetel pass, Devil Kevin Mansfield returned the ball 50 yards to the Rifle 25-yard line. Due to a clock glitch, Eagle Valley earned a little more time and quarterback Mike Medsker took advantage of it by hitting Bear Barkman for a last-second touchdown to make it 7-6 Rifle at the half.”When they scored right before the half, that was kind of our downfall, but we came back fighting and that’s what counts,” Thompson said.Medsker found Barkman again in the third quarter, this time for a 24-yard TD reception that gave Eagle Valley the lead after a successful 2-point conversion. That’s when Rifle turned on the heat and rushed to a victory.Six different Rifle rushers carried the ball 50 times for 291 yards, while the defense held Eagle Valley to 132 total yards.McFarlin lead the core of running backs with 133 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. Thompson rushed 20 times for 99 yards and one TD. Alderson ran three reverses, totaling 37 yards, Tim Long had two for 15 yards, Cody Boe had one rush for six yards and Tyler Chapman carried the ball once for three yards. Whether it was Alderson’s reverses or McFarlin’s charges straight up the middle, Eagle Valley just couldn’t find a way to stop the Bears. It’s a running rotation Wells builds Rifle’s program on.”If you want the ball every down, you shouldn’t come to Rifle because you’re probably not going to get it,” Wells said of the school’s running system. “But hats off to our kids because Tyler Thompson could absolutely take the load. Caleb Powell – he rushed for 100 yards against a 4A team, (earlier this year). He could carry the load, but he didn’t carry the ball one time tonight. But still he’s busting his hump blocking.”With the win, Rifle has clinched, at the very least, a spot in the Class 3A state playoffs. “This is a big one for us because we don’t like putting our faith in other people’s hands and we knew if we won tonight we were in,” Wells said. “Everybody else can do whatever they want to – we are in. Now we’ll play for a league title.”Rifle will now host Steamboat (5-1) on Friday in a battle of the WSL’s top two teams.
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