Steamboat Springs High School junior Mitch McCannon looks for some running room in the first half of Friday night's football game against Rifle at Gardner Field. The Sailors lost 50-10.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School junior Mitch McCannon looks for some running room in the first half of Friday night's football game against Rifle at Gardner Field. The Sailors lost 50-10.

Rifle runs over Steamboat football

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— The news Friday just kept getting better for the Rifle High School football team.

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Steamboat Springs High School junior Mitch McCannon looks for some running room in the first half of Friday night's football game against Rifle at Gardner Field. The Sailors lost 50-10.

The Bears, who were the No. 1 Class 3A team as recently as two weeks ago, were coming off a pair of losses of their own doing.

“We’re about 6 feet from being undefeated,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said.

The team got back to its winning ways Friday, running away with an easy 50-10 win against Steamboat. And a few moments after the Bears walked off Gardner Field, several hundred miles to the south, Delta beat Palisade, keeping the Bears in the race for a Western Slope League title.

“I love coaching at a school like Rifle where it’s a big deal if we lose a game,” Wells said.

There wasn’t much doubt Friday.

The Bears didn’t throw a pass all game and never faced a third down situation in the first half.

Rifle ran the ball 30 times for 465 yards and made it a running clock in the first half.

But after struggling with turnovers and penalties the past two weeks, the game started eerily similar.

Rifle fumbled on two of its first three possessions, giving Steamboat an opportunity. And the Sailors for the second week went toe-to-toe with a premier 3A program and again entered the second quarter down just 7-0.

“We didn’t capitalize on those turnovers,” Steamboat coach Lonn Clementson said. “They executed one or two offensive plays again and again, and our defense could not stop it.”

The Bears finally started to click in the second quarter. Touchdown runs from Bailey Hoffmeister, Javier Nunez and Kellin Leigh put the Bears up, 28-0.

Steamboat finally tacked on some points at the end of the first half with a Joe DeLine 38-yard field goal.

But the Bears put it out of reach in the third quarter. Hoffmeister scored from 15 yards out and then recovered a fumble by Bears quarterback Layton Stutsman, who had fumbled the ball on a long run at the Sailors' 5-yard line.

Nunez added a late touchdown run in the fourth before Steamboat quarterback Zach Holm scored as time expired for the final result.

For the Bears, it was more of the same, churning out yards on the ground and controlling both lines of scrimmage.

“We ran out of three formations and ran three plays all game,” Wells said. “That’s not hyperbole. What we did well is we blocked and tackled.”

For Steamboat, now 4-4 overall and 3-4 in the Western Slope League, it doesn’t get much easier. 
The team travels to Lutheran at 7 p.m. Friday before concluding the season with resurgent Delta.

Rifle has a huge game at 7 p.m. at home Friday with Delta.

“We knew these last four games would be tough,” Clementson said. “The first two have proved that.”

By the numbers

Rifle 50, Steamboat 10

Rifle Steamboat

13 First Downs 7

30-465 Rushes-Yards 35-75

0-0-0 Comp-Att-Int 9-20-0

0 Yards Passing 79

465 Total Yards 154

0-0 Punts-Avg. 5-37

3-3 Fumbles-lost 4-2

2-25 Penalties-Yards 1-15

■ Score by quarters

Rifle 07-21-15-07—50

Steamboat 00-03-00-07—10

■ Scoring summary

First quarter

R: 6:30, Kellin Leigh 67 run. (Eduardo Sandoval kick.)

Second quarter

R: 9:06, Bailey Hoffmeister 19 run. (Sandoval kick.)

R: 7:14, Javier Nunez 11 run. (Sandoval kick.)

R: 5:03, Leigh 9 run. (Sandoval kick).

S: 0:00, Joe DeLine 38 FG.

Third quarter

R: 8:37, Hoffmeister 15 run. (Sandoval kick.)

R: 4:20, Hoffmeister recovery in end zone. (Layton Stutsman run.)

Fourth quarter

R: 8:21, Nunez 22 run. (Sandoval kick.)

S: 0:00, Zach Holm 2 run. (Joe DeLine kick.)

■ Individual statistics

Rushing

R: Leigh 11-203, 2 TD; Nunez 7-123, 2 TD; Hoffmeister 8-72, 2 TD; Brooks Pressler 1-4; Stutsman 2-52; Brock Clark 1-11.

S: Holm 18-(-8), 1 TD; Charles Toye 13-66; Mitch McCannon 1-1; DeLine 3-7.

Passing

R: None.

S: Holm 9-20-0, 79 yards.

Receiving

R: None.

S: Billy Clark 6-68; Dustin Andres 1-11; McCannon 2-0.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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