Bulldogs deal blow to Bears’ postseason hopes
Football, like the weather, has suddenly gotten chillier at Rifle High School.By Phil SandovalPost Independent StaffRIFLE – Football, like the weather, has suddenly gotten chillier at Rifle High School.Friday’s 28-14 defeat to Moffat County iced the Bears out any chance of contention for this season’s Class 3A Western Slope title or runner-up spot and into a guerrilla fight to stay alive for a state playoff berth.
The final score left normally glib Bear coach Darrel Gorham with just one sentence .”The kids played hard tonight, that’s all I can say,” he said.The loss drops Rifle (3-3 WSC, 5-3 overall) to a fourth-place tie with next week’s opponent Montezuma-Cortez, which fell 55-31 to conference leader Palisade Friday. And Rifle can’t afford to take the Panthers for granted. Another loss could possibly drive the Bears, which have been state 3A top-ten polls since the 2004 season began, out of the playoffs.Two long, time-consuming Moffat County scoring drives, combined with an ill-timed Bears illegal substitution penalty in the fourth quarter were factors in Rifle’s loss on Friday.Scott Garoutte scored the first of his three touchdowns in the game midway through the first quarter.
“We came out and showed them what we had,” Garoutte said of the Bulldogs 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive he culminated with a 2-yard run in the first quarter.”That got our momentum up,” Garoutte said. “Those big drives make us start going hard.”The long march also sparked Rifle’s sputtering offense. Scoreless and held to 10 plays in the first quarter, the Bears fashioned a 12-play, 98-yard drive in the second period to narrow the gap to 7-6.Kyle Sanderson found wideout Colton Hedberg from 33 yards out for the touchdown, but missed the tie when he slipped on the wet grass attempting the point-after kick.It was the closest Rifle got to the Bulldogs the entire night.
Moffat County responded to the Bears’ score with Kellan Moore’s 52-yard TD run three plays later.After intermission, the Bulldogs widened their lead to 20-6 by opening the second half with a 15-play, 75-yard march, punctuated by Garoutte’s 1-yard run to the end zone.Sanderson hit his second TD pass of the game with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter when he found tight end Zack LaCount 31 yards out. The Bears narrowed the deficit to 20-14 on Rocky Rauman’s two-point conversion catch from Sanderson.”We knew that was their momentum booster,” Garoutte said. “But we knew that we were tough enough to stop them and that’s what we did.”Rifle didn’t score again in the game, helping the Bulldogs with a special-teams error on the ensuing kickoff.Moffat regain momentum when the Bears were penalized for kicking the ball out of bounds, then called for an illegal substitution to give the Bulldogs the ball on the 40.The two violations finished off the Bears. Eight plays later, Garoutte wrapped up the game with his third touchdown, another short run, with 8:02 left.The two violations finished off the Bears. Eight plays later, Garoutte wrapped up the game with his third touchdown, another short run, with 8:02 left.
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