Athletes of the Week: Gross, Mataia, and Rifle Football

Published: Oct. 12, 2023 at 12:09 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Rifle Bears Football Team has been putting together a great season, and just made a statement that they’re for real.

The Bears went on the road, taking on a highly ranked Basalt Longhorns team that was undefeated at the time.. Not only did the Bears defeat the Longhorns, but do so convincingly, at a final of 54-27 Bears.

“Honestly, we knew that they were a tough team, previous years. And we just knew we had to go out there compete, put everything together, put everything on the table, and everybody knew, we did that we had a good chance of beating them,” Senior Quarterback and Defensive Back Logan Gross said.

“We were definitely more locked in than we’ve ever been with any other game, we treat it as a business trip,” Senior Center and Defensive End Troy Mataia said.

Despite the win over the Longhorns bringing Rifle’s record to 5-1, the two Bears players we spoke to said they see a lot of ways they can improve even more ahead of the playoffs.

“I feel mainly that we haven’t played all four quarters at all, besides last game, which is really good for us, because we’re starting to get on the right track at the right time.,” Gross said.

“There’s definitely more of emotions, like, yeah, emotions are good, because then we can use it to play a game very well, because we’re all very passionate about it... It’s just, we sometimes it can overtake us ...I think that’s one thing that it’s our strength, but it’s also our weakness,” Mataia said.

Gross, Mataia, and the rest of the Bears team have a fast turnaround this week. They will be back home, but they will host the Aspen Skiers for a big conference game.,