Palisade Football preps for key matchups at the Start of the Season

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 8:42 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Palisade Bulldogs Football Team is the model of consistent success on the Gridiron, with a playoff streak spanning multiple decades to prove it. This year’s team is looking to uphold the high standards of the program, but they have a couple of big tests looming to start the season.

If you aspire to be the best, then you probably have to beat the best, the Bulldogs will get a shot to do just that in their debut game of the season, taking on the Defending Class 3A champions, the Roosevelt Roughriders. Last season the Roughriders took down the Bulldogs in Johnstown, 35-18 en route to an undefeated season by Roosevelt. Meanwhile Palisade dropped their first four games of the 22-23 season before rebounding to their usual form, winning some big games against league opponents down the stretch to keep the playoff streak alive.

This year the Bulldogs will get an early shot at payback vs the Roughriders at home.

“State Defending Champions right off the bat, I think we want that challenge,” Senior Running Back and Free Safety Kaleb Wells said, “they have they have skilled players and I know we do too. I feel like it’s going to be really interesting because you know, we are going to have a tough opponent and that’s good. For you know, just to see how we will play.”

After the opening game, the Bulldogs will have another high stakes matchup, with a Grand Valley rival, the Central Warriors.

“Roosevelt being defending state champions, that’s going to be a really big eye opener game for us. But Central is a really big rivalry too. So I think that’s probably going to be one of our biggest games,” Senior Running Back and Cornerback Marcus Royster said.

“Second game is probably my favorite game of all year, which is our rivalry against Central and that’s probably the most coolest game because that game is always loud and it’s always a very hyped game throughout the valley,” Wells said.

A big component of the Bulldogs’ sustained success is their head coach, Joe Ramunno, who has maintained a level of excellence in his decade-plus with the Bulldogs. When asked about what he sees in this year’s team, Coach Ramunno pointed out that the team lost a lot of quality players from last season but likes what he sees.

“This is a great group of guys they’ve worked awfully hard together we get great quality work out of them each and every day. We’re going to be a young football team. There’s a lot of opportunity for some young guys to really have some key spots in here. We’ve got a good junior class, Senior class is smaller but they’re really good guys. The guys we got our solid so you know we’re excited about it at this time of year everybody is and we’re just going to try to get 1% better every day,” Coach Ramunno said.

Still the goal for the Bulldogs remains to get back to the playoffs and see what they can do from there.

“My dad played in the championship games, he won the ‘94 championship, he was there on that team, my dad’s last name is on that trophy, I want my last name to be on that trophy too,” Wells said.

The Bulldogs will host the Roughriders on Aug 25.