Montgomery paces Bears to blowout win over Saints
RIFLE — The Jefferson High School Saints football team came marching all the way from Denver to the Western Slope on Friday night to tangle with the state’s No. 4 ranked 3A team in their home stadium.
The trip back over the mountains was undoubtedly a long one for Jefferson as the host Rifle Bears used a punishing attack on the ground to dismantle the visiting Saints by a lopsided 61-0 score.
The blue and gold clad Bears scored, early, often and seemingly at will against a Jefferson 11 on defense that gave up 76 points in a shutout loss to Alameda last week. The Saints were unwilling and unable to provide much resistance against an onslaught of Rifle rushers.
After forcing a punt on Jefferson’s initial possession of the game, Rifle got things going on the offensive end as running backs Ty Leyba and Blaine Vance each took carries of 10 and 12 yards respectively up the middle to set the Bears up nicely in Saints territory.
Senior quarterback Ethan Strouse then tossed a tight spiral to Tyler Bosshardt that came up just short of the goal line. Strouse decided to try the airways again as he lofted a jump ball to receiver Jacob Boone on a fade route to stake the Bears to an early 7-0 margin.
Rifle’s defense limited Jefferson to just three tries at a first down again, and when the Bears started their second offensive series, it was Vance scampering for a 22-yard gain before Bosshardt put his team up by two touchdowns with a 30-yard run of his own into the end zone. Jacob Henderson’s PAT was good, and the Bears were off to the races.
It was then that Rifle junior Drake Montgomery decided to score his team’s next 14 points all on his own in the span of just 30 seconds.
Montgomery first took a handoff from Strouse and zigged, then zagged to the tune of a 50-yard touchdown journey. On the ensuing extra point try, it was Montgomery again running into the west end zone, this time for two points. Not quite finished yet, Montgomery, playing defense in the Rifle secondary, picked off a pass from Jefferson quarterback T.J. Martinez on the next play from scrimmage, and dashed another 50 yards to make the Rifle lead an insurmountable 29-0.
When Strouse found Jacob Boone for another touchdown pass with just over eight minutes to go in the second quarter, making the score 42-0, the running clock mercy rule kicked in and time had run out on any hope of victory for the Saints.
With the game well in hand at halftime and the only suspense left in the Rifle Stadium being who would be crowned homecoming king and queen, the Bears used most of the quick second half to let reserves and younger players show what the future holds in store for Rifle football fans
Veteran Rifle coach Damon Wells saw his team run its record to a perfect 3-0 with the nonconference victory, as the start to the rugged 3A Western Slope League schedule looms just two weeks away on Sept. 25 with a trip to Gypsum to face the Eagle Valley Devils.
Wells knows his team will factor into the conference race, but still feels there is much room for improvement for his Bears.
“We learned in these preseason games that we are a work in progress,” said the veteran Rifle mentor. “We’re going to continue working to get ready for the very physical Western Slope League. We have some great character kids in Rifle.”
Vance led all Rifle rushers on the evening with 6 carries for 111 yards. Strouse completed 6 of 9 passes for a total of 67 yards.
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Colorado Mountain College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished higher than their rankings coming in at the Nov. 14 National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division 1 Cross Country 2020 Championships.