Rifle gridders run roughshod over Devils
GYPSUM – The Eagle Valley Devils learned a lesson about 3A Western Slope football in their league opener Friday night ,from team at the top of the class – visiting No. 2-ranked Rifle.The Bears capitalized on six Devils turnovers and pounded the ball up front all night long en route to a 54-14 win.The Bears were actually the first team to put the ball on the turf in the first quarter when Casie Dunlap fumbled at Eagle Valley’s 45, but Rifle recovered and then proceeded to march down the field for a touchdown.
The drive was keyed by the running of the senior duo of Dunlap and Rocky Rauman, who scored on a two-yard run.The Bears then tried some trickery with an onside kick which they recovered at the Eagle Valley 40 to put coach Darrel Gorham’s offense back in business. Gorham said the onside kick was something which he and his coaching staff thought could surprise Eagle Valley so he went for the momentum-shifting play early.”We’re just trying to do some stuff that people are giving us,” Gorham said. “We’re not trying to do anything that we wouldn’t normally do. If another team were to give us that, we would take it as well. We needed to come out and execute well.”
The Bears stalled, however, gaining only one yard in three plays and then were stuffed on a fake punt attempt which turned the ball back over to Eagle Valley at the Rifle 35.Devils sophomore quarterback Mike Medsker fumbled the ball on the next play, though, and Rifle got rolling again, capping off a 30-yard, four-play drive with a 22-yard option run to Rauman off a pitch from quarterback Kyle Sanderson. Another Medsker fumble on Eagle Valley’s next series led to another Rifle score and when Matheson was stripped of the ball by swarm of Rifle defenders on the following kickoff, the Bears proceeded to land the knockout punch.Starting from the Devils’ 16 yard line, Sanderson lobbed a pass to senior Jordan Robinson in the corner of the end zone to put his team up 28-0 with 1:28 go in the first quarter.
“We really just gave them the game,” Ramunno said. “There was a 21-point turn there real quick with the fumbles and the interceptions. We gave them a lot of turnovers. But, they’re a good football team.”Dunlap also intercepted Medsker to set up another Rifle score and junior Tyler Gose returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown.”They set a pretty good pace,” Ramunno said. “Their offensive line came to the line and was ready to go. They’re a running team and we knew that, with quick-hitting dives and leads and traps. And then if they’re working, they just come right up and hit them again and again and again.”The Devils didn’t get on the board until the third quarter after the Bears were already up 48-0. Andy Johnson capped a eight-play drive with a 15-yard run. The Devils’ other score came on a 77-yard touchdown run by Sean Matheson with nine minutes left.Rifle improves to 1-0 in the Class 4A Western Slope League (2-0 overall), while Eagle Valley drops to 0-1 (0-2).Rifle improves to 1-0 in the Class 4A Western Slope League (2-0 overall), while Eagle Valley drops to 0-1 (0-2).
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