Moeller helps Rifle finish undefeated
RIFLE — A special kind of game Friday night against Glenwood Springs led to the Rifle High School football team’s special accomplishment.
Ryan Moeller rushed for 239 yards on 42 carries and the Bears held off a gallant come-from-behind effort from the Demons on their way to a 32-27 victory and Rifle’s second unbeaten regular season in school history, the first since 2002.
“It’s very special,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said. “I’m just happy for these kids that they had this kind of experience. Now, all we’re guaranteed is eight more days together. Hopefully, we can go 1-0 next week so we have another week together.”
The Bears (10-0 overall, 7-0 Western Slope Conference) will host a first-round game in the Class 3A state playoffs thanks to their conference championship.
“We expected to be good and even great this year,” said Taylor Webb, who finished with 103 receiving yards and had a key first-half interception on defense. “But to be 10-0 for the second time in our school’s history? That’s unbelievable, because we’ve been around for a while.”
Adam Rice didn’t throw the ball much, finishing 4 of 6 for 118 yards, but his 73-yard completion to Webb near the end of the first half helped the Bears take a seemingly commanding 26-7 halftime lead.
An inspired performance from Glenwood’s sophomore quarterback Travis Lundin (18 for 24 passing, 265 yards and a touchdown), allowed Glenwood (5-5, 4-3) to stay in the game until the end.
“We had our chances, and that’s all we can ask for,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said. “I was really proud of the kids being so far down at halftime and still storming back. There’s a lot of youth out there, and they still made a statement and a big run.”
That run started in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Auston Tribble caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Henry Hill on a halfback pass with 10 minutes, 35 seconds left in the quarter to pull Glenwood within 26-21. The Demons recovered the ensuing onside kick, which bounced hard off a Rifle player and right back to kicker Andy Carbajal, but were forced to punt after a three-and-out possession.
Moeller racked up 57 of his yards on Rifle’s next drive, a 13-play, 78-yard march that ended with a 5-yard TD run on fourth down by Brandon Kittle with 2:19 left.
Glenwood found a way to answer, though, getting a 74-yard scoring pass from Lundin to Tribble with 30 seconds left to play to pull the Demons within 32-27.
On Glenwood’s next onside kick attempt, however, AJ Cordova recovered at midfield to start the Bears’ celebration.
“(A field goal) was definitely part of the conversation,” Wells said of Rifle’s final TD drive. “But we had a plan, and we had the whole situation scripted, to be honest with you. And we like what we decided.”
Glenwood made it interesting early, too.
Lundin capped a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive with his 1-yard bootleg into the end zone, bringing the Demons within 9-7 after Andy Carbajal’s point-after kick. That’s when Rifle really opened up its passing game, using a 73-yard completion from Rice to Taylor Webb to set up a two-yard jaunt from Moeller to put Rifle back up by two touchdowns.
And the Bears weren’t done. Webb, playing defensive back, picked off a pass from Lundin to give the ball back to Rifle at Glenwood’s 29. On the Bears’ next offensive play, Aaron Wagler took a handoff from Moeller on a reverse and ran into the end zone untouched with 6:01 remaining in the second quarter for a 23-7 Rifle lead.
“To be honest, that was just one play,” Webb said. “There were a lot of plays that made a difference. That was just one of them.”
Olathe 28, Gunnison 0: The Pirates (7-3, 6-1 WSC) handled the Cowboys, tuning up for the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs the week after clinching the Class 2A Western Slope Conference title.
Moffat County 27, Steamboat Springs 6: The Bulldogs rushed for 290 yards and threw for 118 more in a game in which all of the points came in the first half.
Bubba Ivers scored on runs of 12 and 86 yards and threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Miguel Molina for Moffat County (3-7, 3-4 Class 3A WSC). Steamboat Springs (0-7, 0-10) had only 129 yards of offense, with Ben Custer scoring on a 2-yard run in the first quarter.
Battle Mountain locked up second place in the 3A WSC with a 54-0 rout of Eagle Valley.
Grand Valley rallied from a 20-point first-quarter deficit to upend Coal Ridge 34-27 by scoring 20 points in the second quarter and 14 more in the fourth.
Basalt slipped past Cedaredge 13-12 and Aspen bounced back from last week’s loss to Olathe with a 24-14 win over Roaring Fork.