Rifle rolls to 44-0 win over Coal Ridge in 2A WSL opener
The Rifle Bears ran their overall record to 5-0 and jumped out to an all-important first win of the season in 2A Western Slope League play by knocking off the rival Coal Ridge Titans 44-0, Friday night at Bears Stadium.
A large homecoming night crowd had barely settled in before the Bears decided to establish their dominance, and it was on the ground, of course.
Coal Ridge won the coin toss, but decided to kick off and give Rifle the first opportunity of the game on the offensive end of things. It was just the fifth play from scrimmage for the Bears when senior running back Levi Warfel broke free down the left sideline for a 62-yard score into the north end zone to put Rifle on the board. The point after attempt by Mayro Hernandez was good to make the score 7-0.
Rifle went with a high pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff and senior Gabe Burris pounced on it at the Titan 32-yard line. On the very next play, senior Talon Cordova set sail on a 32-yard touchdown as Rifle jumped quickly ahead 14-0.
Near the end of the opening quarter of play, Rifle quarterback Holden Stutsman connected with Warfel on a short screen pass for a score to put the count at 21-0 in favor of the home team as the second period loomed.
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Rifle’s defense, stuffing the Titans at the line of scrimmage all night long, allowed the Bears to take over on downs at the Coal Ridge 37-yard line in the early moments of the quarter. Warfel then decided to pay a visit to the end zone once again, this time from 25 yards out at the south end of the field to put the Bears up 28-0.
Not wanting to let the offensive boys get in on all the scoring, Rifle’s defense, in the form of a fumble recovery and 5-yard scoring rumble by Ariel Herrera, helped to up the score to 35-0 with 9:35 to play in the second period.
On their next offensive possession, Coal Ridge managed to garner their initial first down of the game, as senior fullback Damien Spell picked up 12 yards for the Titans’ biggest gain of the half.
The Titans could not sustain the momentum, and Rifle put the game into the running clock mode when senior running back Kenny Tlaxcala took a pitch from Stutsman and ran untouched into the end zone. The score stood at 41-0 following a rare PAT miss by Rifle as both teams headed for the locker room at intermission.
The only thing left on the evening for the Bears was to crown some homecoming royalty during halftime festivities.
The scoring for the game was complete when Hernandez booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the third quarter.
Following Rifle’s homecoming win, veteran head coach Damon Wells had high praise for his team.
“We’re very proud of these boys. They sure are wonderful to be around. We coach them to try and get better each day and I think they are doing that,” said Wells.
Rifle’s unblemished record will face a stern test next Friday night when the No. 1 state-ranked Bears will host the No. 2 state-ranked Delta Panthers in a game that could go a long way in determining the eventual 2A Western Slope League champion.
Coal Ridge (1-4, 0-1 WSL) will entertain the Basalt Longhorns in another key WSL battle on Friday night.
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