GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Go ahead and ask Travis Lundin about the way the Glenwood Springs High School football team played during its first three games this season. He won’t sugarcoat a thing.
“We just had to put it behind us, and I had to put my performance behind me,” the Demons’ senior quarterback said. “You know, we had to just move on. I knew that I could play better and that the team could play better.
“And look at us now,” he continued. “I played better and the team played better. We’re on a streak now, and we’re going to do our best to keep that going.”
Lundin, one of the team captains and a third-year starter at quarterback, is quick to shoulder the blame for some of the mistakes that were made during the Demons’ 0-3 start. His on-field performance has improved dramatically since then, however, helping Glenwood reel off four consecutive victories.
That play, which is critical to the success of Glenwood’s offense, has put the Demons back in contention for the postseason. They’ll try to keep their winning streak alive when they host sixth-ranked Evergreen (6-1 overall) in the second and final nonleague game of the season for the Demons. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday at Stubler Memorial Field.
“In our offense, we go as the quarterback goes,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said. “Sometimes the quarterback gets too much of the credit and too much of the blame. But he has made a great recovery. He’s really leading our team at a big time in the season.”
Glenwood runs a spread-option offense, which typically relies heavily on the split-second, decision-making ability of the quarterback. Its versatility is also a factor, as defenses typically have to spread the field to cover multiple offensive threats, potentially creating extra opportunities for the offensive skill players.
No skill player in Glenwood’s offense, however, has more pressure than the quarterback does. Lundin embraced that pressure long ago, but he admitted that he got down on himself after the Demons opened the season with three consecutive losses.
“I really felt bad after the Conifer game,” said Lundin, as two of this three interceptions led to touchdowns in Glenwood’s 14-0 season-opening loss on Aug. 23. “But mentally, you have to let those go very quickly.”
Lundin finished the first three games of the season against Conifer, Palisade and Rifle a combined 31-of-50 passing (62 percent) for 299 yards. The senior, however, threw no touchdown passes and seven interceptions — combining for six against Palisade and Conifer. Against Rifle, his lone interception came inside the Bears’ 10-yard-line with less than 5 minutes to play in a one-possession game. It resulted in a 13-7 Rifle victory.
“Luckily, I had a lot of pick-me-ups from my teammates,” Lundin said. “You have to have a short memory. In this kind of offense, we throw the ball a lot and have to be smart with it. But at the same time, you have to execute and throw it into some tight windows.”
After that game, the Demons veered a little more toward the running game, amassing a combined 511 rushing yards in victories over Steamboat Springs and Delta. Against the Panthers, Lundin attempted just three passes — completing all of them — for 41 yards.
Lundin said ramping up the running game had more to do with what was a better strategic move than how Lundin was throwing the ball. And by the time the Demons played at Eagle Valley and at home last week against Moffat County, Lundin was finding his groove again.
In the past two games, Lundin has completed 16-of-20 passes for 202 yards and four touchdowns. In Glenwood’s 42-6 Class 3A Western Slope League win over Moffat County last week, Lundin finished 9-of-11 passing for 130 yards and a season-high three touchdown passes, which matched the career-high mark for TD tosses he set as a sophomore against Rifle on Nov. 4, 2011.
Part of the added effectiveness is the use of his own mobility. Instead of scrambling horizontally during an oncoming pass rush, Lundin has begun to step up in the pocket to earn extra time to find a receiver.
A good example was in the second quarter against Moffat County, when Lundin stepped up in the pocket past three defensive linemen. When he did, it also drew a Moffat County cornerback up from the defensive backfield to tackle him. That, however, left Glenwood wide receiver Evrett Marr wide open for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
That’s where the benefit of Lundin’s short memory came into play. He jokingly said he’s done “everything he can to forget about those first three games.”
And even though he admits that forgetting those mishaps has been tough, Lundin said that looking past those mistakes generates more benefits, and success.
“There’s something bigger involved, because what I’m doing is for the team,” he said. “I always try to do my job for the team, as we as a team have too much to play for to dwell on the past.”