Bears continue to roll with win against Moffat | PostIndependent.com
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Bears continue to roll with win against Moffat

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE ” With a playoff spot already locked up, Rifle’s football team closed out the regular season minus pressure against visiting Moffat County on Friday.

But you wouldn’t have known it the way the Bears came out firing.

Behind 310 yards on the ground ” including 100-yard performances from both Brian Key and Tyler Chapman ” the Bears beat up on the Bulldogs, 28-6.



Now it’s time to see whether a couple of numbers ” 13 and four ” prove lucky in the postseason for the Bears.

It’ll be the program’s 13th straight season with a postseason appearance.



The significance of the number four: Rifle took the fourth and final Class 3A Western Slope League playoff berth. The Bears did the same in 2004 and wound up winning the state title. In 2005, they parlayed that fourth spot into a trip to the state title game.

Rifle knows full well how volatile things can be this time of year.

“Anything can happen in the playoffs,” Bears offensive/defensive lineman Justin Stone said. “Four years ago, nobody was looking at us and we took it all. We’ve got to play together. We’ve got to play hard.”

The Bears (6-4 overall, 5-3 Class 3A WSL) looked polished on Friday, playing turnover-free football and sticking to the basics.

Rifle went up 14-0 by halftime courtesy of touchdown runs by quarterback Hazen Moss ” the first a 7-yarder 39 seconds into the second quarter, and the second a 3-yarder with 3:53 left. He was lined up in the backfield on the latter score.

They padded the score with a pair of third-quarter TDs.

Key, who finished with a team-best 109 yards on 20 carries, scored the first from 6 yards out midway through the frame.

The Bears went to the air for the second TD, with Moss finding Daniel Maldonado on a 25-yard strike. A third try proved to the charm for the two, as Moss twice went Maldonado’s way earlier in the night. The latter’s falling grab in the end zone put Rifle up 28-0.

Moffat added a score late when quarterback Matt Linsacum hit Eli Buckner with a 3-yard TD pass, but it was much too little, too late for the Bulldogs (3-7, 2-6 Class 3A WSL).

So begins a second season for Rifle, which expected a fight out of Moffat. That’s exactly what they got. The Bears stalled out on their first two drives before finally putting one in the end zone.

“It was kind of nice to already know we were in,” said Moss, who finished with 59 yards on the ground and was 2-of-4 for 44 yards passing. “We knew (Moffat) would come out and play hard. It was their seniors’ last game.”

Tyler Chapman didn’t find pay dirt, but finished with 104 yards on 10 carries for the Bears.

On defense for Rifle, Jordan Copeland nabbed an interception courtesy of teammate Joe Burgess, who deflected a pass in Copeland’s direction.

So can the Bears once again do some damage as the fourth playoff team out of the 3A WSL? They really don’t seem to care much what number is attached to their name.

“You know, we’ve been in the playoffs so long, 13 years in a row,” Rifle head coach Damon Wells said. “We’ve been No. 1, we’ve been No. 2. We’ve done it all. We know as well as anybody that anything can happen in the playoffs.”

Notes: Rifle actually secured the final 3A WSL playoff bid on Thursday night thanks to a little help from Palisade, which destroyed Eagle Valley 58-23. The Devils entered the week with the same league record as Rifle, though the Bears held the head-to-head edge in the playoff race and would have only missed the postseason with a loss and an Eagle Valley win.

At Rifle

Moffat County 0 0 0 6 ” 6

Rifle 0 14 14 0 ” 28

Second quarter

R ” Hazen Moss 7 run (Scott Rust kick), 11:21

R ” Moss 3 run (Rust kick), 3:53

Third quarter

R ” Brian Key 6 run (Rust kick), 6:47

R ” Daniel Maldonado 25 pass from Moss (Rust kick), 3:33

Fourth quarter

MC ” Eli Buckner 3 pass from Matt Linsacum (kick failed), 3:36

MC R

First downs 11 21

Total Yards 206 354

Rushes-Yards 28-113 39-310

Passing 93 44

Comp-Att-Int 7-15-1 2-5-0

Punts 4-31.3 2-38.5

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 4-26 6-60

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING ” Moffat County, Halen Raymond 10-73, Lyle Shaffner 8-29, Buckner 7-26, Jasen Kettle 1-(minus 1), Matt Kincheloe 1-(minus 5), Tyler Roach 1-(minus 9). Rifle, Key 20-109, Tyler Chapman 10-104, Moss 11-68, Maldonado 4-22, Abram Dennis 2-8, James Martinez 1-1, Logan Powell 1-(minus 2).

PASSING ” Moffat County, Linsacum 7-15-1-93. Rifle, Moss 2-4-0-44, Maldonado 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING ” Moffat County, Tyler Roach 3-61, Paul Nelson 1-14, Colton Conrad 2-12, Buckner 1-3, Raymond 0-3. Rifle, Maldonado 1-25, Clayton Spillane 1-19.

RUSHING ” Moffat County, Halen Raymond 10-73, Lyle Shaffner 8-29, Buckner 7-26, Jasen Kettle 1-(minus 1), Matt Kincheloe 1-(minus 5), Tyler Roach 1-(minus 9). Rifle, Key 20-109, Tyler Chapman 10-104, Moss 11-68, Maldonado 4-22, Abram Dennis 2-8, James Martinez 1-1, Logan Powell 1-(minus 2).

PASSING ” Moffat County, Linsacum 7-15-1-93. Rifle, Moss 2-4-0-44, Maldonado 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING ” Moffat County, Tyler Roach 3-61, Paul Nelson 1-14, Colton Conrad 2-12, Buckner 1-3, Raymond 0-3. Rifle, Maldonado 1-25, Clayton Spillane 1-19.


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