Bulldogs show their teeth vs Bears
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado ” The Palisade Bulldogs once again showed their dominance in the running game as they tore up the turf against the Rifle Bears last night, 48-6.
The Bears fell to 2-7 this season while the Bulldogs improve to 9-1.
Palisade was led by two long touchdowns runs of 71 and 46 yards from running back Travis Fehlman, and two shorter scoring runs from inside the 10-yard line by Aaron Wagler.
But that was on the offensive side.
Matthew Young returned two interceptions for TDs, the first for 32 yards and the second for 17 yards.
“We brought in confidence and trust in our teammates,” Anthony Alfini, interim head coach for the Bears, said about last week’s big 53-6 win over a struggling Battle Mountain. “But Palisade’s a very good team. I think we saw that tonight.”
Palisade started hot their first play on offense.
Fehlman took the handoff and broke to the right, but he wasn’t staying on the ground. He competed a 40-yard halfback pass to Steaphen Isaac that brought them to Rifle’s 9-yard line. Wagler scored on the next play on a run up the middle, and just 21 seconds into the game the Bulldogs were up 7-0.
Their second score came on third-and-goal when Jesse Brannon went in motion to the left and then cut back, taking the handoff for a 7-yard score.
The two-point conversion was good to make it 15-0 four minutes into the game.
After stopping Rifle and forcing a three-and-out, Palisade didn’t get to return a very short 15-yard punt as they let it fall dead. Fehlman’s first score came on the next play, a 71-yard scamper to push the lead to 22-0.
Wagler’s second score came on a 65-yard scoring drive three minutes into the second quarter. On second-and-goal from Rifle’s 5-yard line, he went straight up the middle behind his offensive line to make it 28-0. The two-point conversion was no good.
On the next drive on their first play, Rifle’s Logan Powell threw the first interception to Young, and he returned it to make the score 35-0.
A bright spot on the Bears’ defense came right before halftime as they managed to stop the Bulldogs on four successive running plays inside the 5-yard line.
“I thought that that was a positive for us,” Alfini said. “It gave us some momentum going into the second half, but it wasn’t enough to stop Palisade.”
The Bulldogs went up 42-0 on Fehlman’s second long TD run two minutes into the third quarter.
Looking to pick up a third and 15, Rifle’s Ryan Rebhan gave Young his second interception to make it 48-0. Rifle did block the extra point when they got some penetration up the middle.
Rifle’s lone scoring drive came with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
The Bears had first-and-goal on the Palisade 2-yard line. Powell rolled to his left, and threw to an open Joe Burgess at the back of the end zone. The ball was tipped around the goal line but it still found its way to Burgess.
Rifle couldn’t covert on the extra point and finished the game at 48-6.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.