Bears keep playoff hopes alive with win
Post Independent Staff
RIFLE ” Troy Weiss’ return to form, along with a stingy defense, gave Rifle hope for extending its football season into next week’s Class 3A state playoffs.
Rifle’s Western Slope Conference 29-6 win over Glenwood Springs Friday night helped, but it will take a committee in Aurora to determine the Bears’ future.
The decision on the single wild-card playoff qualifier should be announced this afternoon. The wild-card is chosen from the teams without an automatic bid from the Southern, Western Slope, Metro and Tri-Valley conferences.
The Bears, who finished fourth in the WSC at 4-2 (7-3 overall), made a powerful case for themselves in their defeat of the Demons.
The playoff situation “really didn’t have anything to do with this game,” said defensive coordinator Damon Wells. “It’s just that our kids have such a will to win and a desire to do well.”
Rifle’s desire kept the Demons off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.
The Bears took control from the opening kickoff, but were their own worst enemy. After moving from their 20 to the Demon 3, Rifle fumbled.
The defense responded by tackling Demon quarterback Eric Lundin in the end zone for a safety on the next play.
And, except for a Matt Wilson touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Bears dominated.
“We knew that we could run the ball on them,” Wells said. “We knew if we could control the ball and keep our defense fresh, Glenwood couldn’t move on us.”
Up 2-0 after the safety, Weiss scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 2-yard run with 59 seconds left in the first quarter to pull ahead by nine after Kyle Sanderson’s extra point.
The play culminated an eight-play, 54-yard scoring drive. Before exiting with the rest of the starters in the fourth quarter, Weiss amassed a season-high 139 yards in 25 carries.
The senior running back, whose nursed a year-long ankle injury, added an 8-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Prior to intermission Bear back Marcus Carrion raised Rifle’s lead to 16-0 with a 4-yard run.
Junior Casie Dunlap scored the Bears’ final touchdown ” a 5-yard run ” with 10:19 left in the fourth quarter.
But, this was a night where Rifle’s defense shined.
Before the fourth quarter, the Bears held Glenwood to just 13 yards of offense.
After Dunlap’s touchdown gave Rifle a 29-0 lead, however, the Demon offense finally awoke.
Mike Hoban and Wilson each had key first-down gains, along with a 23-yard Lundin-to-Jake Mauldin catch in a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive thta culminated when Wilson drove over from the 1.
Wilson was Glenwood’s biggest ground gainer with 59 yards in nine carries.
The Demons finish the year with a 4-6 overall record and 2-4 in conference play.
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