Demons get pepped for semifinal |

Demons get pepped for semifinal

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” They say they play for each other.

And they mean it. And that’s the way it’s been throughout the season.

During a spirited pep rally at Glenwood Springs High School on Friday, the captains of the Glenwood Springs High School Demons football team made a simple statement: They were going to play for Glenwood senior Connor Riley today.

Those captains and their teammates on the undefeated Demons (12-0) team will take the field against the Mountain View Mountain Lions (11-1) at 1 p.m. in today’s Class 3A state semifinal match-up at Stubler Memorial Field.

Riley, Glenwood Springs’ second-leading receiver in yards and catches, broke his foot in the fourth quarter of the team’s 50-39 win over Berthoud High School when he caught a ball and was tackled.

“All this year we talked about playing for each other,” said Jordan Ciani, a senior captain on the football team. “The game is dedicated to Connor Riley.”

A player who be on the field but will be on the sideline cheering on his teammates.

As he sat in a wheelchair, a cast on his injured foot, Riley echoed that the players on the team have been playing for each other in this year’s wildly successful season.

Prior to the Demons’ 52-10 first-round playoff win over Roosevelt, the last time the school won a state playoff game came 18 years ago.

“I feel real special that our team is so tight,” Riley said. “We play for each other.”

The team’s success this year seems to have had a galvanizing impact on the Glenwood Springs community. To see the support the team is receiving from the community, one only has to drive up and down Grand Avenue and the side streets of the city to see the many signs that adorn the homes and businesses.

Rocky Whitworth, the head coach of the Demons, called for people showing up to the game today to show support for their community by bringing canned food for LIFT-UP, a Glenwood Springs charitable organization.

“Tomorrow is going to be a full community ‘LIFT-UP’ time for us,” he told hundreds of students during Friday’s pep rally.

Whitworth said his team was going have a “big game” on that old, rickety Stubler Field. But added that it was “our field.”

“This is our school. This is our town,” he said to an eruption of applause from students and teachers. “We play for each other. That is a victory right there.”

Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson, who graduated Glenwood Springs High School in 1977, said the success the team is having is like a “flashback” for many people who have lived in the community for a long time. The school won football state titles in 1978 and 1980.

“It used to be really a big community event for people to go to the football games on Friday night,” he said. “Everyone was there. We are seeing that again through the success this teams has had the last couple of years. You hate to think it is just because we all like to root for front-runners, but there is a high level of excitement. People are just fired up to see this team play.”

Unfortunately, duty calls for Wilson on Saturday. He said has to go to a police academy graduation ceremony for a new Glenwood Springs police officer.

“I wanted to go the game,” he said.

The former Demons will undoubtedly be eager to see how the game turns out.

But don’t expect Glenwood Springs High School junior Leah Mansfield to miss the game. She plans to be “decked out” with paint, headbands and bandanas in support of her classmates on the field.

“It has been fun all season,” said Mansfield, 17, of this year’s football team. “They have never let anyone of us down.”

After 12 victories, the Demons and their supporters will be at Stubler Memorial Field cheering on their team, hoping for two more victories in 2008, which would mean a third state title for Glenwood Springs High School.

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