Rifle gridders stay perfect with 41-6 victory over Harrison
RIFLE – Upcoming opponents are not going to believe it, but the Rifle Bears have not reached their peak.
After a 41-6 dismantling of Colorado Springs Harrison on Friday, it’s hard to imagine the 2-0 Bears can get any better, but coach Darrel Gorham said there’s a few spots he’s looking to fine-tune before conference play starts in three weeks.
“Things are clicking a little bit, and overall, it was a good effort by the kids,” Gorham said. “But we still got a lot to work on yet.”
The Panthers would need a lot of convincing to back up Gorham’s statement.
“Harrison is a better team than (Grand County) Moab,” Gorham said, in reference to Rifle’s 34-8 season-opening victory in Utah. “We improved. And we’re trying to improve every game, but we have a long way to go.”
Troy Weiss and the Bear defense sealed the win by halftime.
The junior running back earned most of his game-high 154 rushing yards in the first two quarters of play, and scored three of Rifle’s four first-half touchdowns.
The defense was as tough as steel.
In the first half, the Bears held Harrison to three yards of total offense and forced two turnovers which Rifle turned into touchdowns to account for the 13-0 lead.
Both first quarter scoring drives ended with Weiss 2-yard TD runs.
The Bears needed just four plays to score their first touchdown.
After a fourth down Harrison punt, Weiss ripped off runs of 15 and 42 yards that moved Rifle down to the Panther 3-yard line. With 8:47 left in the first quarter, the Bears had taken a 7-0 lead after J.R. Childress’ extra point.
And they were just getting started.
A series later, the Bears scored again.
Two key first-down Jason Enewold passes of 10 and 21 yards to Childress and Aaron Jewell were the key plays in an 11 play, 67 yard TD drive. The Bears added to their 13-0 lead by converting Josh Gomez’s interception off Panther quarterback Scott Green into a score. Enewold’s 2-yard keeper capped the short 5-play, 21-yard drive.
Up 19-0 early in the second quarter, the Bears made their only mistake.
A misjudgment of Ronnie Reams’ speed by Rifle’s kickoff team cost them a touchdown.
Reams scooped up a bouncing ball on his own 17, zipped through an open seam, cut left, and romped 83 yards for a score.
Kalvin Deere blocked the extra point try.
Then the Bears got downright nasty.
Over the next five minutes, Rifle blocked a Panther punt, recovered a fumble and raised its lead to 27-6 prior to intermission.
As an exclamation point, the Bears opened the third quarter with a time-consuming, 16 play, 74 yard scoring drive that gobbled up eight minutes of playing time.
The touchdown came on a 5-yard Enewold-to-Childress pass in the end zone with 3:56 left. It was the only pass of the drive.
With a 34-6 lead and the game in-hand, Gorham put the subs in to finish up.
And they also had a moment of glory.
The second-string, all-sophomore backfield of Kyle Sanderson, Rocky Rauman and Josh Cordova pushed over the game’s final touchdown with 2:08 remaining. Rauman’s 24-yard score concluded a 9-play, 55-yard drive.
The Bears hit the road for their next contest – a nonconference game against the Roaring Fork Rams in Carbondale.
Roaring Fork opened its season on Friday with a 20-12 victory over Glenwood Springs.
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