Glenwood Springs comes from behind to top rival Rifle
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The things the Rifle High School football team couldn’t control Friday night ended up being the difference.
The Bears committed back-to-back pass interference penalties that led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Glenwood Springs’ Luke Jacob on the final play of the game for a 20-19 Demons victory.
“Any time you lose a game with one second left it hurts,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said. “I have a lot of things I’d like to say, but I don’t think any of them would be very classy.”
The Bears’ coach was understandably upset with the final 30 seconds of the final Western Slope Conference game of the season.
The Bears (6-4, 4-3 WSC) needed a win over Glenwood (9-1, 7-0 WSC) to keep their hopes alive for the Class 3A postseason.
The undersized Bears fought their way to a 19-14 lead with 3:25 left.
Glenwood Springs took over with 67 yards to drive, needing a touchdown to win.
The Demons marched to the Bears’ 28, but had only 17 seconds left and were facing fourth-and-one.
Jacob gained one yard on a quarterback keeper to keep the drive alive.
On the next play, Jacob’s pass to Henry Hill was completed for five yards, but pass interference was called on Rifle.
The Demons were given the result of the play, plus 15 yards for the penalty, and had a first down at the 7-yard line.
Since the ball was inside the 30-yard line, under high school rules, the penalty should have been half the distance to the goal, and the ball placed on the 13-yard line.
With five seconds remaining, Jacob’s pass into the end zone was incomplete, but the Bears were flagged for pass interference again.
That penalty set the ball at the 3 with one second remaining and Jacob scored the winning touchdown.
“I would like more than anything in my life to talk about that, but everyone that was here saw what happened,” Wells said. “But I’m proud of the way our kids fought.”
The ending left a sour note on a hard-fought game by both sides.
The Bears controlled the ball in the first quarter, going on two long drives that didn’t result in points.
Still scoreless early in the second quarter, Rifle went on a 16-play drive that lasted six minutes and ended with Ryan Moeller’s 14-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
“They are playing well and they’ve been playing hard all year,” Glenwood Springs coach Rocky Whitworth said. “I knew it would be that kind of game.”
The Demons responded on their ensuing drive, with Jacob and running back Drew Halsch breaking off consecutive 20-yard runs. The Demons capped the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jacob to Hill.
Rifle struck first in the second half, scoring on a 31-yard reverse pass on fourth down from Taylor Webb to Rian Creech.
The extra point failed, but the Bears led 13-7.
Glenwood again didn’t waste any time responding, with Halsch scoring a 6-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive to take a 14-13 lead.
Moeller gave the Bears the lead on a 5-yard run with 9:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Moeller finished with 111 yards on 24 carries.
“It was right there and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the guys on our team,” said Moeller, a sophomore. “This was the best game we played all year.”
Jacob led the Demons with 82 yards rushing and 63 passing.
“This shows we can fight to win games,” Jacob said. “It doesn’t always go your way, but we had to fight.”