Rifle hands Huskies first loss of season
RIFLE – Stuart Stapleton felt a sense of deja vu when he lined up for a penalty kick in Tuesday’s game against Battle Mountain.”It was ironic because I had one the last time we played a game here,” the Rifle High School sweeper said.And like his last opportunity, Stapleton ripped a shot past an overmatched goalkeeper for a score.
The junior’s goal was more than enough as Rifle tagged the visiting Huskies with a 2-0 loss, the first for Battle Mountain this season.”I didn’t think about it. I just looked at the corner and placed it there,” Stapleton said of his first-half shot that gave the Bears a 1-0 lead.”Every time we have a PK, we go to Stuart,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “He’s almost an automatic finish. We’ve got other guys we can finish with, but he’s the guy we’ll go with.”Stapleton was the guy on the go all day Tuesday.
Besides his goal in the 12th minute, Stapleton made a couple of nice defensive plays, including a clear on a dangerous Huskies push after teammate Seth Martin added the insurance goal for the final score in the 57th minute.Taucher said it took “a collective team effort,” for the Bears to earn their fifth win in nine games, and more importantly, lift their league record to 4-2-1.”We were a little flat, but we grinded our way through it,” the coach said. “Jorge (Alvarado) gave us energy, Adrian Macias gave us energy, Bryan Cloninger and Eric Simms played a good game in the second half.”The strong play up front resulted in an easy game for Bears keeper Derek Roberts, called on to make just three saves in as many Battle Mountain shots.
“We knew this was going to be a very difficult game,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “Rifle is a quality team, and we knew despite their record this is a difficult place to play.Rifle improved to 4-2-1 in the Class 4A Western Slope League (5-3-1 overall). Battle Mountain is still in first place in the league but dropped to 6-1 (8-1). Rifle wraps up its three-game homestand Thursday afternoon against Moffat County.We had a couple chances in the first half,” Cope noted of Kyle Moore’s cross barely missing a teammate in the 13th minute, along with Joel Gonzales’ shot barely missing the low corner of the near post.”Perhaps if they would have fallen, that would have lifted our group. As it was, that never happened and we never got any traction or any rhythm.””Perhaps if they would have fallen, that would have lifted our group. As it was, that never happened and we never got any traction or any rhythm.”
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