The 2016 installment of the Battle of Monument likely didn’t sit well with the Palmer Ridge High School football team.
Friday’s version, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kick at Don Breese Stadium, looks to be a chance at revenge for the Bears, if early results are any indication.
Last year, the Bears saw Lewis-Palmer run wild en route to a 51-9 win in the rivalry game. This year, Tom Pulford’s team enters with a 2-0 record, while the Rangers have dropped their first two.
“There was a lot of improvement to made, and I feel like we had the best practices we’ve had,” Lewis-Palmer coach Dustin Tupper said.
The Rangers will likely need to have their tall, speedy defensive secondary step up, as junior quarterback Ty Evans has the Palmer Ridge offense cruising, scoring 49 and 51 points in wins over Sand Creek and Liberty, respectively. The Arkansas commit has passed for nine touchdowns against one interception in the first two weeks.
“Really decisive is his big thing. He really can make any throw on the run,” Tupper said. “I think the most impressive thing about him is his poise.”
Seniors Andrew Miller and Zach Hester, along with sophomore Anthony Roberson II, are Evans’ top receivers, while Raef Ruel is the Bears’ leading rusher, averaging 9 yards per carry.
The Bears defense has allowed just 16 points thus far but had no answer for the Lewis-Palmer ground game a year ago. The group can expect more of the same this year.
“That’s just what we do,” Tupper said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re facing, that’s where we’ll start.”
The good news for Palmer Ridge’s defense is Charles Young is gone after rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s game. That could create more carries for Dieudonne Chea, however. As a junior, the back rushed for 202 yards and three scores on just 16 carries against the Bears.
Chea kept the Rangers in the game in last week’s 16-15 loss to Evergreen, picking up 116 yards and two scores on 22 carries. Cole Recker has taken over as Lewis-Palmer’s quarterback and completed 51 percent of his passes after two weeks with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Rangers opened their season with a 41-14 home loss to Mead, one of the top teams in Class 3A. Friday, Lewis-Palmer gets another look at a team with playoff hopes, as it looks to take consecutive games from its rival.
“If you can’t get up from this game, you should retire from football,” Tupper said. “Our boys will be up.”
BATTLE OF MONUMENT AT A GLANCE
Game data: Lewis-Palmer Rangers vs. Palmer Ridge Bears ... Friday at 7 p.m. at Don Breese D38 Stadium.
Media: Follow @davidlukeramsey and @VBenedetto on Twitter for updates from the game.
Teams: After a dramatic 51-9 rout of the Bears last season, Lewis-Palmer has started its 2017 slate 0-2, while Palmer Ridge has started strong at 2-0 with Division I quarterback recruit Ty Evans at the helm. The Rangers are due for a win after losing 16-15 to Evergreen last week, while Palmer Ridge has outscored opponents 100-16 in the first two games.
Stat leaders: Lewis-Palmer's top offensive threat is Dieudonne Chea, who rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns last week. The Bears will likely lean on Evans and a host of receivers, but also has a viable threat in Raef Ruel, who has racked up 126 rushing yards so far this season.