Longtime Fruita coach back on sidelines for rival GJ

After taking one year off from coaching high school football, former Fruita Monument coach Bill Moore resurfaced at rival Grand Junction, coaching the defensive backs. “It didn’t matter to me what I was going to do, I just wanted to get back into it,” Moore said.


Overland at No. 2 Grand Junction

Friday, 7 p.m., Stocker Stadium

RADIO: 95.1-FM (KKNN), 1340-AM (KTMM)

RECORDS: Overland 0-1; Grand Junction 1-0

LAST WEEK: Overland lost to Legacy 33-20. Grand Junction defeated Highlands Ranch 51-35.

GAME NOTES: Overland had a year to adjust to a new coaching staff and has some athletic players, including RB Chaz Butler. The senior rushed for 111 yards per game last season. Defensively, the Blazers like to mix it up and blitz. ... “We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said.  ... Grand Junction defeated Overland 39-7 last year at the Stutler Bowl.

Central at Chatfield

Friday, 7:30 p.m., Jefferson County Stadium

RECORDS: Central 0-1; Chatfield 0-1

LAST WEEK: Central lost to Palisade 24-12; Chatfield lost to ThunderRidge 48-29.

GAME NOTES: Central quarterback Taylor Sanchez showed the ability to make plays, scrambling to avoid pressure and completing 11 of 22 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown last week against Palisade, but threw two interceptions. ... The Warriors were without offensive lineman Ryan Rosendale (ankle) and defensive lineman Mike Arnold (shoulder) and aren’t expected back this week. ... Chatfield has two dozen seniors on its roster and showed the ability to score against No. 10 ThunderRidge last week. ...Chatfield defeated Central 35-14 last season at Stocker Stadium. The Chargers had 320 yards in total offense and 228 on the ground.

No. 7 D’Evelyn at No. 4 Palisade

Saturday, 11 a.m., Stocker Stadium


RECORDS: D’Evelyn 1-0; Palisade 1-0

LAST WEEK: D’Evelyn defeated Conifer 42-20. Palisade defeated Central 24-12.

GAME NOTES: This top-10 matchup is one of contrasting styles. D’Evelyn can sling it with quarterback Caleb Flack, who completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,069 yards and 35 touchdowns last season. Palisade runs it down opponents’ throats, led by Ronald Kuntz, who rushed for 138 yards last week. Quarterback Luke McLean ran for 100 yards. ... Palisade coach John Arledge was mostly pleased with his team’s play last week, saying, “We controlled our own destiny, but we had three turnovers that led to two scores. We’ve got to get better up front and we had a couple of secondary breakdowns.” ... Palisade defeated D’Evelyn 36-29 last season in Denver. The Bulldogs pulled away with an interception that set up a go-ahead touchdown, then Palisade wore down the Jaguars.

Other Games to Watch

No. 3 Olathe at No. 1 Florence, 7 p.m. Friday: The defending Class 2A state champ Pirates, led by a Florence graduate (coach Ryan Corn), meet the top-ranked team this season.

Montrose at Glenwood, 7 p.m. Friday: The Indians lost their quarterback and leader against the Demons last season, but managed to win the game with a late touchdown.

Rifle at Coal Ridge, 7 p.m. Friday: The Bears look to avenge a loss to their neighbor in only the second meeting between the two programs.

No. 2 Hotchkiss at Cedaredge, 7 p.m. Friday: The Bruins, with a year of experience under coach Brandon Milholland, face the Bulldogs, who have beaten Cedaredge the past six years.

Bill Moore could not sit out for long.

The former Fruita Monument High School football coach is back on the sidelines this fall as a defensive backs coach at rival Grand Junction.

Tigers head coach Robbie Owens met with Moore to discuss philosophy and added the veteran coach to his staff.

“I really missed it that year I was out,” Moore said. “Robbie giving me the opportunity to get back into it has been a lot of fun.

“There’s nothing like the smell of a Friday night football game. ... The excitement of the fans, the players, the anticipation of the game. I don’t know if there is anything more exciting than a high school football game.”

Moore brings more than 25 years of experience to a relatively young staff in charge of the Denver Post’s second-ranked team in Class 5A.

“I thought we’d be very good this year and I wanted to make sure coaching-wise we improved as a coaching staff,” Owens said. “I sat down and thought about it, ‘here’s this guy with all this experience at Fruita, I’d be crazy not to take him up on it.’

“He came over to my house, we sat and talked. I think he’s been an amazing asset to us. He’s a guy I can rely on asking for advice. I can ask him for his input and I know he won’t be afraid to tell me what he thinks, and I appreciate that.”

Moore, who was the offensive coordinator at Fruita, is adjusting to being a defensive coach.

“It didn’t matter to me what I was going to do, I just wanted to get back into it,” Moore said. “That’s what they wanted. I can do whatever.

“It’s good to get back on the defensive side. It’s been a good learning experience. Old dogs can learn new tricks.”

Although he still teaches at Fruita, the Tigers’ players have welcomed his intensity and experience.

“He’s a good coach,” senior defensive back Chandon Rose said. “He definitely knows his stuff. Every time someone makes a good play, he’s in your face letting you know you made a good play. It’s definitely a good thing we got him here.”

“He teaches with high intensity,” senior cornerback Zach Lebsock said. “That’s what makes us focus. He gets us intense, we listen and learn.”

Moore started coaching in the valley in 1989 as the defensive coordinator at Grand Junction under Dave Warmack. The next year he was an assistant for Mike McDermott at Fruita Monument, then three years at Central on Jerry Pitzer’s staff.

He took a year off to get his master’s degree, then returned to coach the Palisade freshmen under Joe Ramunno in 1996.

He landed the Fruita Monument varsity head coaching position in 1997 and remained there until 2009, when he was fired. In his 13 seasons, Moore led the Wildcats to five consecutive Southwestern Conference titles, two state championship games and 34 consecutive wins in conference play.

“I see these kids have set goals and are working hard to achieve them,” Moore said. “I see good attitudes about working hard. They don’t complain. Robbie’s leadership has led them in a direction; they know what it takes to win and are making the sacrifices to do it.”

The Grand Junction-Fruita game this season might be a little awkward, but Moore just wanted to get back in the game.

“I’m coaching because I want to coach,” he said, “not to hurt Fruita.”


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