Demons, Bears punch playoff, travel tickets |

Demons, Bears punch playoff, travel tickets

Jon Mitchell
Rifle High School running back Kellin Leigh (22) finds a seam during the Bears' game against Glenwood Springs earlier this year. Rifle will open the Class 3A state playoffs at Coronado.
Darcy Copeland / |

Warm up the yellow bus.

The high school football teams from Glenwood Springs and Rifle officially reached the 16-team field for the Class 3A state playoffs on Sunday, and both teams earned first-round road match-ups based on the seeding provided by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Both schools also enter the state playoffs on winning streaks, and both are seeking return trips to the Class 3A state title game. That game will be played at a site to be determined the week of the game. CHSAA this past summer moved the state championship game back to school home sites. That game will be played on Nov. 30.

Glenwood Springs (7-3 overall), which finished third in the Class 3A Western Slope League, enters the postseason with seven consecutive victories following an 0-3 start. The Demons, even though they finished 14th in the Wildcard standings that determine which Class 3A teams make the 16-team playoff field, were seeded 12th in the playoff bracket.

The Demons will open the playoffs at fifth-seeded Elizabeth (8-2). The game will be played on Nov. 9 at a time to be determined.

There is a little history between the two schools. Glenwood played Elizabeth in the 2010 state championship game — a game the Cardinals won, 29-6.

Rifle (8-2) actually finished tied atop the Class 3A Western Slope League standings with Palisade (9-1), with both teams finishing with a 7-1 league record. Palisade earned the league title, however, thanks to the Bulldogs’ 28-27 victory over the Bears at Bears Stadium on Oct. 5. That setback snapped the Bears’ 25-game regular-season winning streak.

There’s a three-game winning streak that Rifle has put together since Rifle’s 21-10 loss at Conifer on Oct. 12. With that, Rifle earned the No. 11 seed in the state playoffs.

The Bears will play at Coronado (9-1), which was undefeated this season prior to the Cougars’ 24-20 loss at Discovery Canyon this past Saturday. Coronado, which is located on the west end of Colorado Springs and a long walk from the Garden of the Gods park, earned the No. 6 seed in the playoffs.

Both teams have been ranked No. 1 in the football poll. Rifle was ranked No. 1 headed into its game against Palisade. Coronado was ranked No. 1 prior to the Cougars’ first loss of the season this past Saturday.

The game will likely be played at Gerry Berry Stadium, a 5,000-seat stadium on the campus of Wasson High School — a school that was shut down earlier this year by School District 11 due to budget cuts.

Palisade, by virtue of its league championship, automatically qualified for the state playoffs. The Bulldogs earned the No. 2 seed in the playoff bracket and will host No. 15-seeded Lutheran (8-2) in the first round.

Discovery Canyon, thanks to that victory over Coronado, earned the 3A bracket’s No. 1 seed. The Thunder (9-1) will host a first-round game against Pueblo East (6-4), which reached the 3A semifinals last year before falling to Rifle, 56-6, at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo.

Silver Creek, which won last year’s 3A state championship game against Rifle, will be the No. 9 seed. The Raptors (7-2), which lost a game on their schedule thanks to the flooding on the Front Range in September, will play at Evergreen, which earned the No. 8 seed. Evergreen (8-2) lost to Glenwood, 35-7, on Oct. 18 at Stubler Memorial Field.

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