Large signing class pleases Tigers football coach Owens

Grand Junction’s Kyler Rose is all smiles Thursday after signing his letter of intent to play football at Colorado School of Mines.

When Kyler Rose signed a national letter of intent Thursday at Grand Junction High School to play football at Colorado School of Mines, it marked the largest signing class in the five years Robbie Owens has been the Tigers head coach.

Already, Austin Berk, headed to Colorado State University, and James Diamanti, who will attend the University of Wyoming, became the first Division I signees in Owens’ tenure.

Rose, who during national signing day Wednesday was with the boys basketball team en route to Parker to play Legend, added his name to a college signing class that also included Matt King (Colorado Mines) and Johnny Pauli (Colorado State University-Pueblo).

“It’s just nice to know where I’m going to be in February,” Rose said. “The next (Grand Junction) class is full of hard workers. It’s just a good program.”

Owens said the spike in signings seemed to begin with a 2009 class that included Casey Walker, a defensive end, and Cody Cottrell, a lineman, both of who signed to play with what was then Mesa State College.

The rise peaked last season, Owens said, when quarterback Sean Rubalcaba signed with the University of Northern Colorado, and running back Jerreon Dennis chose Colorado Mesa University. Owens said the team’s No. 1 ranking in Class 5A throughout much of the 2011 season, and a state quarterfinals appearance, brought attention to this season’s class.

“They all built a foundation that helped these guys in recruiting,” Owens said. “Having five guys says a lot about us as a program. I always said we want to sign more players than the year before. Six guys next year will be hard.”

Owens said lineman DeShaun Harris likely would have made six football signings this season, but Harris is waiting for an offer to throw shot put and discus in track and field.

Extremely balanced Bulldogs

When Jacob Bollinger scored 13 points to lead the Palisade High School boys basketball team in its 55-41 victory over Battle Mountain last weekend, he was the ninth different Bulldog to score in double figures this season.

Palisade coach Brian Tafel means it when he says his team is balanced.

“It speaks to the kind of depth we have,” Tafel said. “We rotate 10 players, and anyone can step up for us on a given night.”

Showdown with Montrose

The Grand Junction girls basketball team hosts Montrose at 5:30 p.m. today in what will give one of the teams a one-game lead in the Southwestern League standings.

In their previous meeting, the Indians defeated the Tigers 43-38 at Montrose.

Montrose (12-3, 5-1) has a half-game lead over Grand Junction (14-3, 4-1).

But Fruita Monument (13-6, 4-2) defeated Montrose on Tuesday to make it a race once again. After today, the Tigers will have four games remaining, all league matchups.

“Whoever is a game ahead after (today) will be pretty tough to catch at that point,” Provenza said.

The Tigers returned home from Highlands Ranch at 2 a.m. Thursday, having lost to ThunderRidge 60-48 on Wednesday.

Out to stop that streak

Also today, the Grand Junction boys basketball team will be looking to end a two-game losing skid when it hosts Montrose at 7 p.m. The Tigers lost to Fruita Monument last week and dropped a game at Legend on Wednesday.

Montrose, on the other hand, is coming off a win over Fruita Monument.

“I know Montrose is playing a lot better, and we’re not right now,” Tigers coach Dutch Johnson said.


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