Moeller, Bears rout EV
RIFLE — With 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second quarter, the Rifle High School football team started a running clock.
By halftime, the Bears were up 52-0 against Eagle Valley, and star running back Ryan Moeller had rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, easily eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for the season.
Rifle, the top-ranked team in Class 3A, concluded its second-straight undefeated regular season in dominant fashion, beating No. 8 Eagle Valley 52-13.
Moeller is a microcosm of the entire team. He shrugged off his season statistics, saying the Bears hadn’t reached the final goal. Rifle (10-0, 8-0 3A Western Slope Conference) hardly cheered after the victory.
“Eh, it’s all right, I guess,” Moeller said. “I wouldn’t have gotten those numbers if everyone else hadn’t done their job. It’s less about the stats and more about winning a championship.”
Moeller finished the regular season with 2,222 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns, averaging just under 12 yards per carry.
“You know, I can’t give you an answer about how much Ryan means to this team,” Bears head coach Damon Wells said. “Everything I could say would be an understatement. I think the best part is that he is just a great person.”
Moeller may have been the main feature for the Bears, but junior Kellin Leigh and sophomore Isaac Rider made the most of their touches, too.
Leigh, a junior, had nine carries for 95 yards, and he rushed for two touchdowns in the first half. Rider finished the game with 42 yards on three carries.
Each Rifle back notched double-digit yards per carry.
“We prepared like crazy for this game,” Wells said. “We did the same thing we do every week. We know what we want. We know what we have to do.”
Rifle’s defense also remained dominant, extending its shutout streak to 10 straight quarters before the second-team defense allowed two scores in the second half. The Bears had two interceptions in the first half.
Rifle, with a likely No. 1 seed as the only undefeated team in 3A, will host a first-round playoff game.
Playoff pairings will be released Sunday, and four other teams are contending for playoff spots in the 3A WSC, including Eagle Valley (7-3, 5-3).
“We don’t sleep,” Wells said. “We watch every step of every person, and hopefully we can prepare our kids. Honestly, I kind of wish we weren’t the No. 1 seed, because we have so much experience taking down No. 1 seeds when we need to.”