Bears grind way into 3A state championship game
RIFLE — What worked the week before for the Rifle High football team worked again against the Fort Morgan Mustangs on Saturday.
And thanks to that, the Bears have worked their way back into the Class 3A state championship game.
Brock Clark scored three touchdowns and Layton Stutsman threw a touchdown pass and rushed for another, and Rifle rolled up more than 300 rushing yards on its way to a 35-7 Class 3A semifinal win over the Mustangs in front of a packed house at Bears Stadium.
With the win, Rifle moved into the state championship game for the second time in three years. The state title game will be played at 1 p.m. Nov. 29 in Pueblo against Pueblo East, which defeated Discovery Canyon 39-21 in the other semifinal of the day.
Clark finished with 142 rushing yards. Stutsman’s 2-yard TD run with just over a minute left capped the scoring. The Bears used the same kind of grinding running attack they used the previous week, which worked to the tune of a 15-0 quarterfinal-round victory over Roosevelt on a snow-covered field in Johnstown.
Rifle took control early on thanks to Clark, who scored on first-quarter touchdown runs of 25 an 11 yards to give the Bears a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game. Then near the end of the second quarter, Clark caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Layton Stutsman for a 21-0 Rifle lead with 59.9 second left in the half.
That’s when Fort Morgan struck back, driving 73 yards on seven plays before making it a two-possession game at halftime on Tate Kembel’s 1-yard TD plunge. That made it 21-7 at halftime, but Fort Morgan didn’t score again.
See Sunday’s Post Independent for full coverage.
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.