Prep Football: Roaring Fork not ready for offseason
The Roaring Fork High School football team edged valley rival Basalt, 14-10, last Friday night in Carbondale for its first league win of the season. With only two games left on the schedule — Friday at Coal Ridge and at home on Oct. 24 against Moffat County — you would believe that pride is all the Rams have left to play for.
That’s not the case at all.
If Roaring Fork can manage to post victories in its last two outings, and Moffat County gives it a bit of help by beating Aspen this week, the Rams (2-5, 1-2) would garner the 2A Western Slope League North state playoff berth.
Battle Mountain is the north division leader at this point with an unblemished 3-0 conference mark. The Huskies though, are a 3A team taking advantage of the state’s play-down rule, so they can only qualify for the postseason in 3A if they accumulate enough regular-season wildcard points to make the playoffs, which is unlikely at this juncture of the season.
Roaring Fork veteran skipper Tory Jensen feels his team has as good a shot as anyone to make the state bracket, though he does see Moffat County as having a slight edge on the rest of the WSL pack.
“Every team is in the mix, except for Battle Mountain,” Jensen said. “Moffat is much better right now than the team that opened the season at Rifle. They could be in the driver’s seat.”
When Jensen looks across the field on Friday night, he will see his counterpart, Coal Ridge coach Kyle Sager, and a Titans team that is very similar to his own.
“If you look at the scores, we’ve both been beaten by the same people by about the same margins,” Jensen stated. “Who knows? We’re still young and trying to figure things out. For us, it’s all about playing with emotion. Attitude is everything.”
Sager’s Titans (3-4, 1-2) know all-too well about the Moffat County-in-the-driver’s-seat observation, having lost in Craig 34-0 this past Friday.
Coal Ridge faces long odds at the possibility of getting a spot in the 2A playoffs, but there is still plenty left on the plate for the Titans to play for. A win over Roaring Fork on Friday night would propel Coal Ridge into the final game of the season at home against Battle Mountain, and with it would come the hope of ending the season with a winning record overall and in the conference standings.
“We’re trying to focus in on ending the season with a winning record and getting better each week,” Sager said.
Coal Ridge running back Jared Duran, a senior, has been the backbone of the Titans offense this season. Two weeks ago in a home win against Aspen, Duran carried the ball 31 times for 129 rushing yards. Duran is averaging 135 rushing yards per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Max Bettle has been the anchor the Titans will continue to rely on if they are to achieve their goal of closing out the season on a high note. Bettle will enter Friday’s game with Roaring Fork averaging 15 tackles per game.
In other games on Friday:
SUMMIT (1-6, 0-4) AT GLENWOOD SPRINGS (4-3, 3-1): After battling Delta to a 10-10 draw at halftime, the roof fell in on the Glenwood Demons as they lost a key conference road game, 39-10. The Demons now find themselves in a four-way tie for the 3A WSL lead with Rifle, Palisade, and Delta. Summit comes to Stubler Memorial Field on Friday still searching for a league win after dropping a 48-34 decision at home last week to Grand Junction Central. Glenwood needs to win its last three games (Summit, Rifle, at Steamboat Springs) to have a legitimate chance at the league crown.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS (3-4, 1-3) AT RIFLE (6-1, 3-1): Rifle came up on the short end of the scoreboard for the first time this season last week when rival Palisade scored a touchdown with just under 2 minutes to play for an 18-10 win. The Bears will be motivated to bounce back and keep themselves in the thick of the league race against a Steamboat team that was beaten 25-3 at home last week by Eagle Valley. The only thing that could slow Rifle down in this one is if they are caught looking ahead seven days to a big date in Glenwood with the Demons.
GRAND VALLEY(0-7, 0-3) AT MEEKER (6-1, 2-1): The Meeker Cowboys are coming off a big 40-27 win last week at Cedaredge. They suffered their only loss of the season, a 22-16 setback at home, on Oct. 3 to Paonia, the state’s No. 1-ranked Class 1A team. Grand Valley will go in search of that elusive first win as they head up state Highway 13 to face a very physical Meeker team in Starbuck Stadium. Last Friday, Grand Valley was shutout at Hotchkiss 49-0. The Cardinals may have to wait another week to break into the win column when they host Lake County on Oct. 24 in their season finale.
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The Coal Ridge High School boys and girls basketball teams will both be home Tuesday night to open the Class 3A state basketball tournament.