Rifle wins league title outright | SteamboatToday.com

Rifle wins league title outright

Eric Rineer

— After spoiling the Sailors’ perfect season last weekend, the Rifle Bears put on another big-time performance Friday night to knock off rival Palisade, which made the Bears undisputed league champions.

Trailing 14-0 in the first quarter in Rifle, the Bears (7-0, 9-1) went on to outscore the Bulldogs 51-14 to breeze to the 3A Western Slope crown.

Rifle went on to win 51-28.

The victory, which made the Bears outright champions, also did some good for the Sailors, who knocked off the Delta Panthers at home Friday night.

Rifle’s big day helped Steamboat to finish in second place and dropped Palisade to third. All three teams will make the state playoffs that begin next week.

It looked as if for a moment on Friday night the Bears would drop their first league game of the season.

Palisade struck early after recovering a fumble and running it into the end zone at the 10:08-mark of the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

After Palisade extended the margin to 14-0, Rifle finally got onto the scoreboard on a 70-yard, 11-play drive that ended when Ryan Enright carried the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out.

But the play that would turn the game around for Rifle came on a 4th-and-20 at the Palisade 40-yard line.

Senior Bears quarterback Ryan Whittington had just been sacked on third down which brought up a gutsy call by Bears coach Darrel Gorham to go for it. Under heavy pressure, Whittington scrambled before unleashing a strike to a wide open Jason Enewold at the 5-yard line. Enewold danced into the end zone with the ball at the 10:48-mark of the second period. That tied the score at 14-14.

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