Rifle dominates Grand Valley 47-7 in home opener
Five drives. Six touchdowns, one thanks to an interception return.
That’s how the Rifle High School football team started the first half of Friday night’s home game against Grand Valley.
Conversely, the visiting Cardinals tallied three punts, three turnovers and no first downs during the same timeframe.
At halftime, the Bears led 40-0, en route to a 47-7 victory for Rifle in both team’s season opener.
“It was a physical game, and Rifle was well prepared as they always are,” Cardinal coach Tim Lenard said. “…. We just couldn’t meet their physicality in the first half.”
Rifle opened the game with a 10-yard run by Levi Warfel.
“Going in, we were a little nervous, simply because it was the first game of the season,” the senior said. “But after that first play, it was all good.”
Warfel scored two touchdowns in the first half, and was one of several Rifle players who finished with multiple trips to the end zone.
Kenny Tlaxcala scored three touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving, and one on an interception return. On his three touchdowns, Traxcala had a simple plan.
“I just tried to follow my blockers and things went well,” Tlaxcala said.
On defense, Talon Cordova picked off a pass and also recovered a fumble. The senior also scored a rushing touchdown.
Starting quarterback Holden Stutsman threw two touchdown passes. Carter Pressler capped the game with a touchdown.
For Rifle coach Damon Wells, the game’s main highlight was simply being back on the field on a Friday night, and seeing the look on the parents’ and kids’ faces.
“I love coaching the Bear football team in Rifle, Colorado,” Wells said. “I think Friday nights at Bear Stadium are pretty special.”
For the Cardinals, quarterback Hector DeLaCruz scored the team’s lone touchdown during the second half.
Coach Lenard was pleased to see Grand Valley play better, “and at least get a little something going to carry into next week.”
Up next for the Grand Valley is a road game Sept. 6 against Kent Denver.
“It’s another tough game,” Lenard said. “They are like Rifle; they are in the playoffs every year. … We’ve got our work cutout for us.”
Rifle also travels, taking on Eagle Valley in Gypsum on Sept. 6.
“Now we play a 3A team,” Wells said. “So, they are bigger than us, and they have more kids than us. It will be a challenge. We look forward to the idea that the greatest improvement comes from between the first and second game.
“We’re excited to see how much we can improve.”
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