Rifle football players earn all-state accolades
Rifle High School’s football team landed more postseason awards this week, as three members of the 2014 team were first-team award winners when the Colorado High School Activities Association announced the Class 3A all-state football team.
Each of the three award winners are graduating seniors: running back/linebacker Brock Clark, offensive lineman/linebacker Austin Shepherd and offensive lineman/defensive end Alex Gould. Each of the three players were key for a Rifle football team that reached the 3A state title game for the second time in three years.
Rifle was one of three teams from the 3A Western Slope League to earn recognition on the all-state team. Delta had players on the first and second teams, and Palisade had three second-team players. Pueblo East, which defeated Rifle 30-14 in the state title game, had seven first-team players, the 3A Player of the Year in Daniel Martin and the 3A Coach of the Year is David Ramirez. The Bears did not have any second-team players.
Clark (5-foot-8, 200 pounds) was one of the top running backs in the state and a key part of the Bears defense this season. He finished with 1,427 yards and 22 touchdowns on 163 carries, averaging 9.0 yards per carry. He also had 13 catches for 308 yards and six touchdowns. On defense, he finished with 97 tackles and had four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Shepherd, a three-year starter as linebacker for Rifle, finished with 136 total tackles to pace the team. He also joined Gould on a Rifle offensive line that helped amass 4,028 rushing yards — more than any other team in Class 3A.
Gould played defensive end for Rifle, tallying a team-high 4.5 sacks this season and 85 total tackles. His ascent to a first-team all-state award is enhanced by how he considered quitting the football team prior to his sophomore year at Rifle.
CHSAA announced all-state teams for each classification on Tuesday. Nominations come from each of the state’s respective leagues, followed by a vote of coaches from around Colorado.
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