Thompson is WSL Back of the Year
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Tyler Thompson has worn down the grass along the sideline of Bears Stadium all season.
Racing along the chalk line separating the speedy running back from his cheering teammates, much like he did on 50-plus-yard runs in each of Rifle’s postseason games this season, Thompson has made breakaway scoring runs look common and easy.
Turning the heads of the fans trying to keep an eye on him as he coasts down the field, Thompson also turned heads in the Class 3A Western Slope League, earning the Back of the Year award.
He’s been the target of every defense in the WSL this season and made them all look pitiful in their futile attempts to stop him. Rushing for close to 1,500 yards this season and scoring six touchdowns in Rifle’s two playoff games alone, the senior earned the title.
Aside from his sideline scurries, Thompson also crashed for short gains or 10-yard reverses, many of which ended in a similar fashion ” a touchdown. Like a LaDainian Tomlinson of the Western Slope, Thompson’s a scoring machine.
Also a WSL first-team selection, the Rifle senior carried the Bears’ offense this season, fueling it to an average of 21 points per game. In the postseason, Thompson seemed to run even harder, picking up more and more yards and more and more touchdowns.
During Nov. 11’s first-round matchup against Elizabeth at Bears Stadium, Elizabeth jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first half. Thompson took the game into his own hands in the second half, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter to give Rifle a lead it never lost. Two of the runs came at distances of 53 and 26 yards when Thompson zoomed down the sideline. Just to change things up, he ran right up the gut for another score, this time coming on a 50-yard dash.
In Rifle’s 34-26 loss to Alamosa in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Thompson scored three touchdowns again, all coming in different forms. The first was a 4-yard reverse to the corner of the end zone, the second was a 5-yard pounding crash and the third was on a 43-yard straight-up-the-middle breakaway.
While Thompson’s athletic ability and determination helped him acquire his stats, he was also guided by head coach Damon Wells, who was named the WSL’s Co-Coach. Sharing the honor with Steamboat’s Aaron Finch, Wells coached the Bears to an 8-4 season and the program’s 12th straight playoff appearance.
The second-year head coach, who led Rifle to the state title game last season, showed some of his crafty play calling on Saturday, when the Bears went for four fourth-downs and converted three.
Wells carries a .680 winning percentage as a head coach and will return for his third season at the helm of one of the most respected teams in the state.
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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