If you ask Levi Warfel how many touchdowns he’s scored this season, he doesn’t recall.
For the Rifle High School football senior, it’s not about him.
“I wouldn’t have got the touchdowns without the whole team,” he said.
Whatever the total is, add five more trips to pay dirt to the tally. The tailback rushed for three touchdowns and caught two more, helping lead the Bears to a 48-15 victory over visiting Englewood High School in Saturday’s opening round of the 2A State Football playoffs.
Warfel’s first run of the day also was his first touchdown, as he scampered 52-yards on the Bear’s first play from scrimmage. It was one of seven touchdown drives for Rifle, including a 77-yard touchdown run by Warfel on the Bear’s second drive.
The only two times the Bears didn’t find the end zone against the Pirates was to end the first half and to run out the clock at the end of the game.
Rifle coach Damon Wells saw a team effort.
“There is so much that goes on behind the scenes,” he said. “… I have long said that nothing we do works if we have selfish kids. For example, I could not have told you that he (Warfel) had five touchdowns.
“We try to be very acutely aware of what is available and what is not and it worked out today for Levi.”
Throwing two touchdown passes to Warfel — including a 91-yarder — was senior quarterback Holden Stutsman, who also had a rushing touchdown.
“With our line working the way they did, and our receivers being able to get open … helps,” Stutsman said.
Also scoring was Kenny Tiaxcala, who scored on a 4-yard run in the second half.
Defensively, the Bears gave up a couple of big passing plays, but spent most of the day in Englewood’s backfield, pressuring Pirate quarterback Mason Robertson, as well as virtually shutting down the run game.
And even when they did give up a big play, the defense would stiffen. The Bears defense forced two turnovers — an interception by Stutsman and a fumble, which was recovered by Josh Straw.
“I was proud of our boys,” Wells said. “We say all the time that it’s hard to win football games in general, and it’s harder still to win football games in the playoffs. I think anytime you win a playoff football game, it’s a special day.”
As seniors, these playoff games mean a little more to Warfel and Stutsman.
“These games are the best honestly,” Warfel said, “because we don’t got many more.”
Stutsman agreed, “This is the last time I get to play with my friends, my brothers. If we can just go game by game, I think we will be alright.”
Up next for the Bears in the second round of the 2A State Playoffs is a game against Basalt High School, who defeated the Classical Academy, 13-7.
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.