It was a great night at Stoker Stadium for the 9-0 Rifle Bears. Rifle held off the Palisade Bulldogs for a 36-33 win.

The Bulldogs were a tough test and at times seemed to have all of the momentum going their way, but the Bears pulled away in the third quarter and held off a furious Palisade charge in the final 10 minutes to win 36-33.

The Bears’ defense was tested all night, but came up huge in the final minute, dropping Palisade for two consecutive losses and holding on fourth down. The defense also made a goal line stand at the end of the first half to preserve a narrow halftime lead.

Ryan Moeller started off the scoring with a 97 yard touchdown run on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage. From there, Brandon Kittle and Taylor Webb took over, each scoring two touchdowns.

The win guaranteed Rifle it’s first league championship since 2002, even though the Bears won the state title in 2004 and returned to the finals in 2005. In each of those two years Rifle placed fourth in the West Slope league and caught fire during the playoffs.