KMTS FOOTBALL: Bears, Demons Divide Western Slope League Openers

GRAND JUNCTION (9/5/13) — Once again, Glenwood’s football team is struggling through an early season gauntlet of ranked opponents, while the Rifle Bears look poised for what could be their third consecutive undefeated Western Slope League season.

Both teams began League play last week, the Demons falling 34-18 to Palisade at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction on Thursday, and Rifle demolishing a once-fierce Moffat County Bulldog team, 62-0 at Bears Stadium on Friday.

PALISADE 34, GLENWOOD 18

The good news for Glenwood is, after failing to get into the end zone, 14-0, in their season opener versus number three ranked Conifer, and managing just a field goal in the first half against perennial power Palisade, the Demons’ Derrick Chase scored their initial touchdown from one-yard out with 3:11 to go in the third quarter.
Chase, a senior, set up the score by blocked a Bulldog punt from the 7 and junior Tristan Harris fell on the loose ball at the one. The extra point by Robert Hiles, who booted a 27-yard field goal for the Demons’ first points of the season in the second quarter, cut the deficit to 20-10.

Palisade’s diminutive (5-3, 150) Dalton Hannigan made sure the Demons drew no closer, capping a nine-play, 80-yard drive with his second touchdown, from the 23 just seconds into the 4th quarter. Hannigan, who was held to just 17 yards at the half, when Palisade led 13-3, darted and flashed for 126 after halftime and finished with 143 yards on 16 carries.

Senior Henry Hill, who was battling an injury in the first game, looked more like the back who topped 1,000 yards the last two seasons, hitting holes and running to daylight for 36 yards on 7, second-quarter carries, but the Palisade ground game kept the ball out of his hands in the second half, and he finished with 51 yards on 14 attempts to lead the Demons. The Bulldogs totaled 299 yards rushing, including 4 touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Travis Lundin, who threw three interceptions against Conifer, was picked off twice more in the second period, but had better protection and finished strong, completing 6 of 12 for 93 yards in the fourth quarter, including a spectacular 45-yard completion to Evrett Marr for a game-ending touchdown with 1.7 seconds left. Hill ran in the conversion for Glenwood. Cristian Gonzalez, who missed the first game, was a factor on the offensive line and at linebacker for the Demons.

Glenwood continues its daunting early-season trifecta by hosting 5th-ranked Rifle this Friday.

RIFLE 62, MOFFAT COUNTY 0

After two games, Rifle has outscored its opponents 116-6, following the 62-0 white-washing of the Bulldogs. Moffat County, once so strong that it was moved up to the 4A Southwest League with the Grand Junction schools, will drop down next year to the 2A WSL. The Bears scored on all seven of their first-half possessions, including one-play “drives” of 46 and 41-yards by Javier Nunez.

The first score came after a 17-yard, wind-impeded punt by Moffat County was downed on the Bulldog 46. Bailey Hoffmeister intercepted Joe Camilletti at the MCHS 41 following the kickoff, and on the next play, Nunez was off to the end zone again.

For the second straight week, Rifle’s potent offense, combined with a stifling defense had the 40-point mercy rule in effect before halftime, with a running clock beginning after Hoffmeister’s 22-yard TD dash with 6:50 to go in the second quarter.

Kellin Leigh, who scored on 4 of the five times he touched the ball in the opening 54-6 win over Coal Ridge, continued that astounding streak with his first two carries, a 9-yard run to conclude the 27-0 first quarter, then bursting 90 yards after the Bulldogs failed on a fourth-down attempt in Rifle territory. Leigh has accumulated 246 yards rushing on just 8 carries (30 yards per attempt), scoring 6 touchdowns in the Bears’ two games. He had 154 yards in 4 rushes against Moffat County.

Brock Clark, who led the team with 144 yards in game one, only carried the ball three times, but scored twice, as Nunez led the ground game with 158 yards in five attempts. Clark made the score 20-0 in the first catching a 9 yard TD pass from Layton Stutsman following a 12-yard Bulldog punt, then tallied from 25 for the Bears only score in the 3rd quarter with the clock running.

Stutsman was again effective, completing 5-of-8 passes for 50 yards. He is 8 of 13 in the Bears’ first two games for 113 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. The Bear line, Austin Boone, Clayton Coombs, Alex Gould, Austin Shepherd, Clinton Farr, and tight end Tanner Quick helped the Bears run up 470 yards rushing in just 20 carries. The Bulldogs were held to a net 100 yards for the game.

This Friday, the Bears and Demons rev up their rivalry in Glenwood.

About Jack Jabbour

High school sports analyst
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