Moeller’s 6 TDs help Rifle cruise to win
RIFLE — Ryan Moeller expects he’ll get teased quite a bit during the Rifle High School football team’s film sessions next week.
Never mind that he rushed for a career-high 324 yards on 28 carries, had 373 all-purpose yards and found the end zone six times Friday night during the Bears’ 48-6 Class 3A Western Slope Conference win over Moffat County.
The junior figures he’ll get an earful from his coaches and teammates for the touchdown he scored in the second quarter by stretching the ball over the goal line over a host of Moffat County linemen.
“Yeah, I’m gonna hear it. That was just stupid,” Moeller said, laughing. “Luckily I got it over (the goal line) in time before someone came and knocked it away.”
Even if it had been ruled a fumble, the ball bounced right into the hands of teammate Taylor Webb and would have resulted in a touchdown anyway.
The play was just an indication of how the ball bounced the right way all night for the Bears (8-0 overall, 5-0 WSC), who are on the verge of winning their first conference title since 2002.
Moeller blazed the biggest path in the Bears’ big ground game. Rifle didn’t attempt a pass, yet finished with 460 yards of total offense on 56 carries.
Kamal Johnson, who replaced Moeller at the end of the third quarter, finished with 91 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Not to be outdone, the Bears defense allowed only 62 yards of total offense, 40 of them coming in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
“We had a much more complicated game plan. We had no intention of this becoming the Ryan Moeller show,” said Rifle coach Damon Wells, pointing to a play card in his pocket, which had close to two dozen plays on it. “Offensively, we simply saw a weakness up front and exploited it. And defensively, we couldn’t have played better.”
Moeller had 287 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries by halftime, and his 49-yard interception return for a score in the third quarter gave the Bears a 45-6 cushion.
Moeller has 1,811 rushing yards heading into next Friday’s critical game against Palisade at Stocker Stadium, where another victory would give Rifle the WSC crown. Palisade is one game behind Rifle in the standings, along with Battle Mountain.
“The sky is the limit right now,” Moeller said.
Rifle got on the scoreboard less than one minute into the game, even though Moffat County (1-7, 1-4) received the opening kickoff.
A.J. Cordova recovered a fumble by quarterback Brayden Peterson at the Moffat County 32, and two plays later, Moeller scampered into the end zone from 13 yards out with 40 seconds gone in the game.
The junior put Rifle up 12-0 on a 40-yard jaunt five minutes later, running over three Moffat County defenders 10 yards up the field before coasting the rest of the way.
He scored again on runs of 61 and 6 yards before Jacob Teeter’s 96-yard kickoff return for a TD got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.
Rifle responded again, though, capping a 91-yard drive with Moeller’s stretch to the end zone that, after the ball went over the goal line, gave the Bears a 33-6 lead.
“Trust me,” Moeller said. “The razzing I’ll get will be never-ending.”