Host Rifle besieges Battle Mountain on Homecoming |

Host Rifle besieges Battle Mountain on Homecoming

Anthony Dion
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Turnovers and big plays were the story Friday night as Rifle dominated a struggling Battle Mountain squad 53-6.

In a matchup of two slumping 3A Western Slope League (District 7) teams, Rifle (2-6 overall, 2-4 league) came out energized on homecoming night and stifled the Huskies offense. The Bears’ defense held Battle Mountain to just 162 yards of total offense while creating six turnovers (five interceptions and one fumble) and also scoring on a punt return.

After falling to Steamboat Springs 62-13 just one week ago, the winless Battle Mountain Huskies (0-8, 0-6) couldn’t do much right against the Bears.

From the opening snap ” which was delivered high and out of the reach of quarterback Parke Robbins and subsequently turned over to the Bears at their own 12-yard line ” to the last one, the Huskies struggled. It made for a long evening for Battle Mountain.

Rifle was more than happy to take advantage of the miscues.

Two plays after the opening fumble, Tyrel Lenard rumbled untouched into the endzone for a touchdown. Lenard ran for 140 yards, two TDs on 15 carries. Second-string QB Logan Powell added 48 yards and a TD on the ground and James Martinez had 30 yards on six carries.

If it wasn’t a bad enough beginning for the Huskies, what happened next sure didn’t make them feel any better.

On the very next running play conducted by Battle Mountain, the officials turned in a very questionable call. The Huskies faked the handoff to the upback and pitched outside to their halfback. While the upback without the ball was stood up at the line of scrimmage, the halfback sprinted down the sideline with one man to beat for an easy touchdown of about 75 yards. Not so fast. The referee thought the upback had the ball and blew the play dead when he was stood up, meanwhile Libertini is off to the races 40 yards down the field.

After the Huskies picked up their first first down of the contest, the Bears forced a punt and despite a pretty good kick, the Bears’ Joseph Burgess returned it 60 yards for the score, making it 12-0 Rifle.

From there it got ugly.

As the second quarter opened up, Lenard ripped off a 30-yard score which was quickly followed by Powell’s TD scamper off yet another interception thrown by Huskies’ QB Jake Engle who had three on the day. Engle and Parke Robbins split time at quarterback, neither faring exceptionally well against a fired up Bear defense.

To be fair, they weren’t getting much help as their receivers seemed to struggle all night. Combined, the duo was eight of 21 passing for 103 yards with five interceptions.

Rifle took a 32-0 lead into halftime but wasn’t finished adding to their rout until the end of the third quarter.

Perhaps the lone bright spots for the Huskies came from the last drive when Robbins hooked up with Dawa Sherpa for a 37-yard gain on the far sideline. Then a couple plays later, Robbins found Chris Libertini for a 3-yard TD pass as the Huskies finally put a crooked number on the scoreboard with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

“It was an important game to the school, to the community and our fans,” Rifle head coach Bill Kucera said afterwards. “There was still a lot of mistakes out there by us.

We have a lot of guys who stepped up and made plays tonight and we were really just able to capitalize on Battle Mountain’s turnovers.”

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