RIFLE -- Despite the ridiculous numbers accumulated by Rifle running back Ryan Moeller and the Bears as a whole this season, the Erie football team was reserving judgement.

Call the Tigers believers now.

Despite being a No. 16 seed, the Tigers fully expected to compete with the top-seeded Bears, if not escape with a win. Those hopes were dashed quickly Saturday at chilly-but-still Rifle High School, as Moeller ran wild and the Bears ended Erie's season with a 42-0 whitewash in the Class 3A playoffs first round.

"They hit hard and they have a lot of pride," Erie linebacker Triston Berringer said. "They have good technique and they just outplayed us. They're going to go a long way."

Moeller entered averaging a gaudy 220 yards per game on the ground, but surpassed that by a long shot. The senior ran past and through the Tigers for 281 yards on 24 carries and four touchdowns.

He added a fifth when, from his safety position, he picked off Tigers quarterback Tristan Lyle and returned it 37 yards for a score in the third quarter to make it 35-0.

Asked if the final score surprised him, Erie coach Larry Gartrell paused for a moment before answering.

"Yeah, it did. We've played some good football all year," Gartrell said. "We were able to move the ball on almost anybody, even Holy Family, Frederick and Northridge, and we were able to play some good defense and fly to the ball."


Erie (7-4) tried valiantly to do so Saturday, but the Bears (11-0) just proved to be too much. Rifle now has outscored foes 475-35 this season, with some of those surrendered points coming in garbage time of lopsided wins.

Moeller, who praised Erie for playing tough, has 35 rushing TDs this season.

"They're a very physical team," Moeller said. "They were very well-prepared and they knew what they were doing. They knew what to call out when they needed to call it out, so they did a great job."

As usual, 5-foot-7 senior Pedro Anderson was a bright spot for Erie. He stripped Rifle running back Kellin Leigh for a turnover on the Bears' opening drive and picked off quarterback Adam Rice in the third quarter. He also led Erie with 60 yards on the ground on 17 carries in his final game with the Tigers.

Anderson's white road uniform was the most mud-soiled of any of the Tigers, exemplifying Erie's difficult day. Rifle churned for 395 yards on the ground and limited the Tigers to 135 yards and nine first downs.

Gartrell wasn't ready to label the season a heartwarming story after the Tigers returned to the playoffs after last season's miss and recuperated well after the midseason injury loss of then-leading rusher Ryne Atkins.

"This is where we were expected to be, and we expected to win today," Gartrell said. "Yeah, it would have been a big shocker, but if you don't expect to win, then you shouldn't be playing."

Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21



At Rifle H.S.

Erie (7-4) 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Rifle (11-0) 7 14 14 7 -- 42


First Quarter

Rifle -- Ryan Moeller 2 run (Marco Gutierrez kick).

Second Quarter

Rifle -- Moeller 2 run (Gutierrez kick).

Rifle -- Moeller 2 run (Gutierrez kick).

Third Quarter

Rifle -- Moeller 64 run (Gutierrez kick).

Rifle -- Moeller 37 interception return (Gutierrez kick).

Fourth Quarter

Rifle -- Rider 2 run (Gutierrez kick).


First downs 9 20

Rushes-yards 46-122 41-395

Passing yards 13 28

Comp-Att-Int 2-7-2 2-4-1

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1

Penalties-Yards 4-25 4-30


RUSHING -- Erie: Anderson 17-60, Ramey 11-36, Jensen 8-23, Mickey 8-21, Lyle 2-(-8); Rifle: Moeller 24-281, Leigh 8-54, Rider 4-34, Rice 2-9, Fugita 1-10, Stutsman 1-8, Knight 1-(-1).

PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Erie: Lyle 2-7-2, 13 yards; Rifle: Rice 2-4-1, 19 yards.

RECEIVING -- Erie: Anderson 1-8, Elkins 1-5; Rifle: Quick 2-28.