Rifle hosts first round of 3A state football playoffs; Glenwood goes to Evergreen | PostIndependent.com

Rifle hosts first round of 3A state football playoffs; Glenwood goes to Evergreen

Jon Mitchell
Glenwood Springs High School sophomore quarterback Dante Sparaco runs for yardage during Friday night's game at Steamboat Springs. The Demons, along with the Rifle Bears, will both be playing when the Class 3A state playoffs begin on Saturday.
Ben Ingersoll / Steamboat Pilot & Today FILE PHOTO |

Seeding in the Class 3A state playoffs isn’t the most important thing to football teams at Rifle and Glenwood Springs high schools. Being a part of the playoffs is.

“Once you get there,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said Friday night after Glenwood’s win over Steamboat Springs, “anything can happen.”

Both Glenwood and Rifle will try to make something happen starting this week. The schools on Saturday officially made the 16-team field in the Class 3A state playoffs, and their respective opponents were released by the Colorado High School Activities Association on Sunday morning.

All first-round games are tentatively scheduled to be played Saturday.

Whitworth’s Demons (6-4 overall), fresh off a 42-28 victory at Steamboat in their regular-season finale, has some familiarity with its opponent. Glenwood, the No. 15 seed in the playoff field, will play at No. 2 Evergreen (10-0) in the first round.

This will be the third consecutive year the two nonleague opponents have faced each other. In 2012, Evergreen’s 38-32 home victory over Glenwood wound up being the game that kept the Demons out of the playoffs. Last season, Glenwood returned the favor with a 35-7 victory over the Cougars at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood Springs.

This season, Evergreen has been dominant on their way to an unbeaten record and the Metro North League championship, outscoring its opponents 387-81. One of the Cougars’ most convincing victories was their 44-6 win at Conifer on Oct. 11.

Conifer (8-2), the No. 8 seed in the 3A playoffs, will host ninth-seeded Delta (7-3) in the first round. Conifer’s only other loss came in a 17-16 loss at Glenwood Springs on Sept. 5.

Rifle (9-1), which on Friday won its fourth consecutive Class 3A Western Slope League championship, can relate specifically to Whitworth’s comments. The Bears won their last state championship in 2004 when they entered the postseason as the No. 16 seed.

For some members of the coaching staff, there’s something more to it, though.

“We love being out here with these kids,” said Rifle head coach Damon Wells, who was an assistant coach under Darryl Gorham when the Bears won their last state title. “That’s why we have the saying ‘Seven More Days,’ because the longer we’re in the playoffs, the more time we get to spend with each other.”

The Bears, the No. 6 seed in the 3A playoffs, will try to extend its season at least another seven days when it hosts No. 11-seeded Northridge (6-4) in the first round on Saturday. The Grizzlies are one of four teams from the Northern Conference to make the 3A playoffs, including third-seeded Roosevelt (9-1), seventh-seeded Holy Family (8-2) and No. 16-seeded Berthoud (7-3).

Rifle and Glenwood are two of the five WSL teams who made the state playoffs — more than any other league in the state. Eagle Valley (7-3), the No. 14 seed, plays at Roosevelt, and Palisade (7-3), the No. 12 seed, plays at fifth-seeded and unbeaten Lutheran (10-0).

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