Rifle gets wake-up call in 42-14 win
CARBONDALE – In football, game-busters can be explosive or subtle.
In the course of a 42-14 win over Roaring Fork, Rifle (3-0) realized the importance of not taking an opponent lightly.
In defeat, the Roaring Fork Rams, who dropped to 1-1, discovered they are a darn good football team.
Both teams had their moments during a brilliant back-and-forth battle that stretched into the second quarter.
Rifle struck first. Junior running back Troy Weiss scored the first of four touchdowns; he scored on a two-yard run at the 9:57 mark of the first quarter.
Roaring Fork came right back. Seventy seconds later, the Rams tied the game at 7-7 when tailback James Leonard culminated a six-play, 63-yard drive with a 36-yard touchdown run.
Then it was Rifle’s turn to respond.
The Bears took advantage of Ross Velasquez’s fumble on the Ram 17, and regained the lead when Weiss scooted over, after a Bear holding penalty, from the 27.
J.R. Childress’ missed extra point after the touchdown opened the door to Roaring Fork’s taking its only lead.
Stalled after taking the kickoff from their own 30 to the Rifle 34, Ram coach Tory Jensen pulled a gadget play out of his bag of tricks, and it worked to perfection.
After lining up for a fourth-down punt, kicker Taylor Arbaney took the snap, turned to his left and found an unguarded Leonard roaming alone in the flat. The Ram junior made the catch and walked into the end zone. Max Green split the uprights with the point after.
And with a 14-13 lead, bedlam erupted on the Ram sideline.
“We didn’t execute offensive. We didn’t execute defensively,” said Rifle coach Darrel Gorham of the turn of events. “Our kids need to understand to come out and execute from the very first play as opposed to waiting until it gets exciting.”
Angered by their poor performance, the Bears got downright nasty.
They forced a turnover, rumbled 64 yards in 11 plays, and took the lead back on Weiss’s three-yard TD run, and a two-point conversion play run from quarterback Jason Enewold.
Up 21-14 at intermission, Rifle never trailed.
The Bear defense forced two second-half turnovers, didn’t allow a first down, and held Roaring Fork to minus two yards of total offense in the game’s last two quarters.
Weiss added his final touchdown – a 34-yard run – with 6:52 left in the third quarter. He left the game during the next series with a a game-high 211 yards in 30 carries.
Gorham said he preferred not to use Weiss as much as he did, but Weiss is a nice weapon to have.
“He’s just a good back,” the coach added.
That’s an understatement. Weiss is the state Class 3A leading rusher with more than 550 yards in three games, a 7.5 per-carry average and 11 touchdowns.
And before exiting, Weiss’s 19-yard gallop after Aaron Jewell’s interception off Ram backup QB Aaron Markham set up Anthony Alfini’s short TD run that blew the game open.
With a 21-point lead, Gorham brought in the subs for most of the fourth quarter.
And for the second week in a row, the Bears backups produced a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Sanderson hit on four of five passes in a 11-play, 75-yard TD drive, culminated by a Sanderson-to-John Alderson pass from 36 yards out.
In the drive, Sanderson hooked up with three different receivers for first downs.
Rifle concludes the non-conference part of its schedule Friday at home against Montrose. Roaring Fork opens Class 2A Western Slope Conference play Friday at Olathe.
Score By Quarters
Rifle………………….7 14 13 7 – 42
Roaring Fork………7 7 0 0 – 14
Ri – Troy Weiss 2 run (J.R. Childress kick), 9:57
RF – James Leonard 36 run (Max Green kick), 8:40
Ri – Weiss 27 run (kick failed), 11:19
RF – Leonard 34 pass from Taylor Arbany (Green kick), 9:10
Ri – Weiss 3 run (Jason Enewold run), 1:08
Ri – Weiss 34 run (Enewold run), 6:52
Ri – Anthony Alfini 2 run (pass failed), 4:28
Ri – John Alderson 36 pass from Kyle Sanderson (Sanderson kick), 4:56
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The brackets are set for the 12-team 4A girls lacrosse state championships, and the Roaring Fork Rams are dancing as the No. 9 seed.