Rifle earns way into 3A football playoffs
Yes, Rifle’s in the Class 3A football playoffs. And the opponent the Bears have drawn as their first round opponent is a very familiar foe.
According to state playoff brackets released Sunday by the Colorado High School Activities Association, the 7-3 Bears open at Western Slope Conference champion Palisade.
The Bulldogs (9-1) earned the conference crown with a 20-15 Friday over Moffat County in Craig.
All football playoff games are scheduled to be played on Saturday, Nov. 8, but the date can be changed with CHSAA approval and agreement between the two contesting schools.
The date and location of the Rifle-Palisade game will be set later this week.
Rifle, who finished the regular season Friday with a 29-6 win over Glenwood Springs, earned the classification’s lone wild card berth with the most wild card points over teams from three different conferences.
Wild card points are based on a team’s strength of schedule and its final overall win-loss record.
In the wild card race, the Bears totaled 48 points against Metropolitan Conference Centaurus’ 42.6 points for the playoff berth.
The playoff game is the second time Rifle has faced Palisade this season.
On Sept. 19, the conference opener for both teams, the Bears downed the Bulldogs 35-14 in Rifle.
In that contest, running back Marcus Carrion ran for two touchdowns and passed for another and quarterback Kyle Sanderson was 15-of-21 passing for 148 yards and one score.
Since that game six weeks ago, the Bulldogs suffered some key personnel losses due to injury.
In Week 6 at Glenwood Springs, Palisade lost starters Victor Green (back) and running back Jason Popick (ankle) for the the season.
And the Bears have also had success over Palisade when the venue shifts westward.
In 2002 at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction, Rifle bested the Bulldogs 34-31 in overtime.
In other playoff games involving Western Slope area teams 10-0 Roaring Fork travels to 9-1 Estes Park in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
The Rams advanced to the next round on a 27-3 victory over La Junta Saturday in Carbondale.
Class 3A first-round matchups include 5-5 Sterling from the Tri-Valley Conference at 9-1 Steamboat and Moffat County (7-3) at Tri-Valley runner-up Berthoud (6-4).
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