To say that the Roosevelt Roughriders refused to quit on Saturday might be the understatement of the season. The Bears kept scoring and the Roughriders kept counterpunching their way back into the contest. There were many in the stadium who believed the Bears would certainly be practicing on Thanksgiving after Isaac Rider scored on a 82 yard touchdown run with 7 minutes remaining in the game. But as they had all day long, the Roughriders answered. Roosevelt responded with two touchdowns of their own to bring the game to within 8 points with less than one minute on the clock.
Roosevelt then recovered an onside kick and the nerves of the capacity home crowd became even more frazzled.
For those interested in the controversy between Rifle head coach Damon Wells and the officials following the onside kick, the exchange centered around whether or not Roosevelt players had made contact with a Rifle player before the ball had gone ten yards. A change to the rule book just this year, outlawed a member of the kicking team from making contact with any member of the receiving team before the ball either travels ten yards or before the receiving team has a chance to catch it.
The officials gave the ball to Roosevelt, and the Roughrider quickly picked up yardage, but Ryan Moeller ended the drama by picking of a Roosevelt pass and taking it 90 yards for the touchdown as time expired.
To be sure, there are some around the state that may be surprised how close the game was given Roosevelt’s 7-4 record. But the way that the Roughriders had finished the season in a very tough Tri-Valley league clearly made them one of the top two or three teams remaining in the 3A bracket.
The Bears set a program record last year by going 11-0 and have broken it again this year. No team in Rifle High School history has ever eclipsed the 11 win mark until the current squad. The 1973 State Championship team finished at 11-1 and the 2004 state championship team was 10-4. Rifle will have the opportunity to break the record once again this Saturday.
The state semi-finals will take place at 1:00 on Saturday at historic Dutch Clark field in Pueblo. The Bears will be taking on the Pueblo East Eagles, who earned their trip to the Semi-Finals with a 35-24 win in Delta this last Saturday.
The Eagles boast a powerful and balanced offense. They average 208 yards per game through the air and 182 yards per game on the ground. They average 38.8 points per game. By comparison, Rifle averages 62 passing yards, 364 rushing yards and 43.6 points per game.
The Eagles are led by Junior quarterback Kurt Rode. Rode, #10, has a strong and accurate arm and will be the best throwing quarterback that the Bears have faced all year. His 2491 yards passing are truly impressive. Rode works from under the center as well as the shotgun. When he hands off, it is usually to Senior tailback Derion Ibarra. Ibarra has 1312 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on the year.
Defensively the Eagles look similar to Roosevelt, running a 4-4 defense with the outside linebackers walked up near the line of scrimmage. Their defense has allowed 278 points on the year for an average of over 23 per game.
Pueblo East ended the season in a three way tie with The Classical Academy and Pueblo Central in 3A’s Southern conference. They would have won the league outright if not for an amazing 4th quarter comeback by The Classical Academy when the Eagles and the Titans played earlier in the year. Pueblo East had a 33-16 lead with just 6:22 on the clock before the Titans roared back to win 37-33.
The Eagles also lost to Discovery Canyon early in the season. With quality wins over Frederick, Holy Family and Delta, Pueblo East looks to be a very formidable opponent for the Bears.
KMTS Football Playoffs: Rifle Finally Tested, But Advances to Semifinals, 48-34 – KMTS.com
Bears ride into the semis – GSPI
Rifle defense delivers in the clutch – GSPI
Rifle tops Roosevelt in round two – KKCO TV
Rifle’s Ryan Moeller runs over Roosevelt. – Denver Post
Moeller’s INT return dooms Roosevelt in Class 3A football playoffs – reporterherald.com
Rifle’s relief – GJ Sentinel (Subscription Required)
Pueblo East Defeats Delta, Will Face Rifle in Semifinals – KREX TV
Prep Football – Rifle Outlasts Roosevelt – KJCT 8 TV
USATodayHSS.com/Denver/ Prep Rally | (SUNDAY 11/18/12) – 9 News – KUSA TV