Summit football grind to home loss against Rifle, 20-37 |

Summit football grind to home loss against Rifle, 20-37

Phil Lindeman

Summit vs. Rifle — Oct. 14

1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final

Summit 0 7 6 7 20

Rifle 14 8 0 15 37

When the Tigers battled the Bears, neither side escaped without a few claw marks.

On an unusually warm Friday night in October, Summit football hosted a tall and tough Rifle squad at home under the lights. Both teams wowed the modest crowd with beefy runs and even beefier defensive hits, but the Tigers couldn’t hold the Bears crushing run attack at bay early and late. The home team gave up a combined 29 points and scored just seven in the first and fourth quarters to end with a loss, 20-37. The Tigers are now 2-5 overall and 0-2 in the 3A Western Slope. The Bears improve to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the 3A Slope to remain tied with Palisade at No. 1 in the league.

A win is a win, but this wasn’t exactly the cakewalk Rifle has come to know and love against Summit. The Tigers went four-and-out on the first possession and Rifle responded with a long, drawn-out scoring drive. It set the tone for the rest of the game, which was dominated by run after run from junior Camron Shepherd and sophomore Daniel Enriquez. Shepherd had the touchdown on a 20-yard run, but in a sign of things to come, he got stonewalled on the two-point conversion. Not the best start for the home team, but not the worst.

The Tigers had another four-and-out on their next possession, setting up Rifle for a second sustained drive to eat away at the clock. Senior Drake Montgomery punched it in from the 19-yard line as time ticked away, and this time the Bears were good with the two-point conversion, 0-14.

Summit responded immediately in the second quarter with a commanding drive of their own, led by senior running back Adolfo Vasquez III and junior all-around man Vale Hildebrand. Vasquez weaved through traffic for 25 yards on third and five from the Bears 26-yard line to set up his one-yard scoring run, 7-14.

The Bears responded with another touchdown and two-point conversion to pull away again, 7-22, and the Tigers entered the locker room knowing they had to stop the barrage.

Things got wild in the third quarter, when the Bears drove downfield on their first possession — only to get stuffed on fourth and one at the Tigers 4-yard line. Summit took over on downs and put together one of their best drives of the season: a 96-yard, five-minute march, helped along by 30 yards worth of Rifle penalties. Junior quarterback Jake Gillum found Hildebrand on a seven-yard pass for the touchdown, followed by a failed two-pointer to make it 13-22.

Rifle roared back in the final quarter with a scoring drive good for eight points, 13-30. With 7:10 remaining, Summit drove from their 32-yard line to the Rifle 1-yard line thanks to a huge catch-and-run from senior Eddie Jain. Junior Dylan Lane ran it in for the score, 20-30, and, for the first time in several years, the Tigers were within striking distance late against the Bears.

It’s as close as they came. At 4:30 in the fourth, a botched on-sides kick gave the Bears prime field position to pull ahead once more, 20-37, and then the defense recovered a Gillum fumble deep in their own territory with 1:30 to go. The Bears duo of backs ran up the gut a few times to let the clock expire for the win.

The Tigers next travel to Glenwood Springs (3-4 overall, 1-1 league) on Oct. 14. Kickoff at 7 p.m.

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