Palisade defense snuffs out Rifle, 20-0
Assistant Sports Editor
RIFLE ” Wait and see.
“The film never lies. So, it will be interesting to take a look at that thing” said Rifle head coach Damon Wells when asked to evaluate his team’s performance in Friday’s 20-0 loss to Palisade.
The Bears (3-2 conference, 3-3 overall) had some good moments, especially in the second half when the defense held the Bulldogs scoreless. Rifle’s biggest frustration, however, was their inability to put points on the scoreboard.
“We were able to move the ball,” Wells said. “But we simply have to score some points to win.”
Scoring has been a problem for the Bears this season. With the
exception of a 39-0 victory over Delta, the largest amount of points Rifle has scored on an opponent has been 12 points. And, that was a loss to Steamboat Springs.
The Bears struggle to mount a strong offensive push cost them any hopes of making a run at the state’s Class 3A No. 2-ranked team.
Jason Popick’s touchdown runs of 1 and 67 yards by the midway point of the second quarter put Rifle in a 14-0 hole.
As a response to the Bulldogs’ early control, after Popick’s first score, the Bears moved inside Palisade’s 20 yard-line, set up by a defensive turnover.
After moving from the 39 to the Bulldog 20, the promising drive was negated by a Rifle holding penalty, followed by a delay of the game flag a few plays later.
Palisade added to the Bears’ woes by adding another six points on a three-play, 91-yard scoring drive, culminated by Popick’s 67-yard run down the right sideline.
“Everyone blocked great. I just saw an opening and turned it on,” Popick said of the game’s largest gain. Popick ended with 186 yards in 22 carries.
Overall, the Bulldogs piled up 359 rushing yards in 407 yards of total offense.
Rifle, held to a meager 64 yards in the first half, nearly doubled that total in the final two quarters, but couldn’t find their way inside the end zone.
The Bears opened the second half with an impressive 11-play, 52-yard march to the Bulldog 24 before Dustin Deprospo’s sack on Tyler Gose sent Rifle into retreat.
The drive stalled for good two plays later when a fourth-down, Goss-to-Timmy Long pass netted only a yard.
Palisade failed to add to its lead, but held possession for most of the second half.
With 2:28 left, Rifle moved from their 33 to the Palisade 1. Fittingly, the drive died when time expired.
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