MONUMENT - It was fitting Palmer Ridge senior defensive end Zach Hester carried the Battle of Monument trophy from the south end of Don Breese Stadium to in front of the Bear student section after Friday's game.
After all, the defense carried the Bears to a 35-7 win over their crosstown rivals, Lewis-Palmer. The Palmer Ridge defense pitched a shutout, as the Rangers' only score came on an interception return.
"The story of the night is offensively, we were inept," Lewis-Palmer coach Dustin Tupper said.
After Tupper's squad ran all over the Bears in last year's win, Palmer Ridge's defense came ready.
"It feels great," Palmer Ridge defensive tackle Jake Dillon said. "Last year, we had a bad taste in our mouth. We've been working all summer. We came back and put it to them."
Lewis-Palmer's best chance to score offensively came early after Palmer Ridge muffed a punt near its 20 and saw the Rangers recover. The Bears defense used a sack to escape unscathed and got the ball back to the offense as the scoreless first quarter ended.
That changed on the first play of the second quarter when junior quarterback Ty Evans kept a fourth-down bootleg for a 1-yard touchdown. After the Bears defense recovered a fumble, Evans hit senior receiver Cory McLellan from 4 yards out, making it 14-0 later in the half.
The Rangers scored their only points in the final minutes of the half when senior Patrick Haggard picked off a shovel pass and returned it for a score to make it a 14-7 game at the half.
As the second half wore on, the Bears defense got the Rangers out of system, forcing a more pass-heavy offense while Hester, Dillon and company cranked up the pressure.
"They're well-coached. They did a good job," Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford said of the Bears' front seven. "When I end up in a track meet, I'm going to struggle."
Evans hit McLellan on the first drive of the second half for another score. The Bears took a 28-7 lead to the fourth quarter after sophomore Raef Ruel took a handoff 75 yards around the left side.
The scoring was capped in the fourth when Cameron Colangelo outjumped a Lewis-Palmer defensive back, juked another and raced for Evans' third passing score of the game to cap off a rivalry win.
"I love the way our kids competed. I loved the energy that they brought," Pulford said. "I love the way they finished."