EDWARDS — No. 2-ranked Rifle football did pretty much anything and everything it wanted in a 55-7 victory over Battle Mountain on a chilly Friday night in Edwards.
The win moves the Bears to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the 3A Western Slope, setting up what may be the de facto Western Slope championship against Palisade next week in Rifle.
Palisade will certainly be out for revenge as the Bears have won the past two meetings in the series. Rifle thumped the Bulldogs, 31-3, at Stocker Stadium last year and eked out a 36-33 victory in 2011.
In fact, Friday night was Rifle’s 25th consecutive regular season win dating back to Nov. 5, 2010, when Glenwood Springs defeated the Bears, 20-19.
On Rifle’s second play from the line of scrimmage, Bears junior Brock Clark was off to the races with an 80-yard run down the left side for six. Rifle’s Ty Leyba had a 64-yard punt return setting up an easy score for quarterback Layton Stutsman with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
Too Many Turnovers
One Battle Mountain fumble and 37 seconds later, Kellin Leigh was into the end zone on a short carry for a 20-0 lead. Battle Mountain’s third fumble of the first quarter gave the Bears the ball on the Huskies’ 11. Clark had his second score from five yards out, and Rifle was in complete control. On the Bears’ next possession, Leigh broke off a 53-yard rumble and took it another 16, for good measure, for his second touchdown.
About the only thing stopping Rifle were incompletions — the Bears did try to pass on a damp night — and penalties. Leigh started the second quarter with a 48-yard scoring run, which kicked in the running clock at 41-0.
A touchdown for homecoming
All was not lost, however, for the Huskies. They scored their first touchdown of the season. Quarterback Demetrius Parrish ran the option perfectly with a nifty left pitch to Rio Garton. The Huskies senior took it from there for 74 yards, eluding the last Bears’ tackler at about the Rifle 10.
And, as would be expected, the Huskies fans, who sat through a cold night, celebrated that with gusto. It’s not a big thing in the football cosmos, but that’s a moment that the Huskies won’t soon forget.
For Battle Mountain fans who may be wondering why Rifle was scheduled for Homecoming, said event is different at the high school level. High schools cannot pick and chose their opponents for the week of the festivities, whereas colleges and universities have more flexibility in selecting the week that their football teams play Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle State for the expected win.
High school Homecomings happen when all of its fall sports teams are actually at home. Thus it was this week, and, unfortunately for Huskies football, Rifle was in town.
Battle Mountain (0-5) heads to Steamboat Springs next week.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.