Rifle football earns top seed going into 2A playoffs
Rifle High’s football team leap-frogged Sterling in the final RPI rankings after the final weekend of the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed going into this week’s Class 2A state playoffs.
The Bears — 41-6 victors over Moffat County at home Friday night to go undefeated at 9-0 and win the 2A Western Slope League outright at 5-0 — are set to host No. 16 Englewood at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Bears Stadium in Rifle.
Moffat made the playoffs as the No. 15 seed in the 16-team field, and will hit the road to play No. 2 Sterling, which had held the top spot in the RPI rankings coming into last week.
The WSL is well-represented in the postseason playoffs with four picks. Basalt made it in as the No. 9 seed, playing on the road versus No. 8 The Classical Academy, and Delta earned the No. 4 seed, hosting No. 13 Pagosa Springs.
“We don’t really care about the seeding, we just want to be in the playoffs,” Rifle head coach Damon Wells said Sunday afternoon of the Bears’ top ranking. “Once you’re in, nothing else matters except getting to the next week.”
The Englewood Pirates finished at 7-2 on the season, and went 4-1 to win the Denver metro area’s 2A Colorado League ahead of Ridge View Academy and Bishop Machebeuf.
“Experience shows us that everyone in the playoffs is good, and there is no easy way through,” Wells said. “You hear a lot of stories of No. 16 beating the No. 1, so we have to be prepared. We just hope to perform the way we know we can, and survive to play the next week.”
The Englewood matchup pits the Pirates air attack against Rifle’s run-heavy offense that have proven dominant all season. Rifle averages more than 300 rushing yards per game, to Englewood’s 150 yards per game, according to MaxPreps Colorado statistics.
In the air, though, the Pirates pass for an average of about 160 yards per game, to the Bears’ 50 yards. Rifle holds a slight advantage in points per game, at 38 to Englewood’s 32 ppg.
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The Bears open their playoff run with a runaway 48-15 victory over the Englewood Pirates last Saturday at Bears Stadium