Demons’ quest is complete
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
AURORA, Colorado ” Dakota Stonehouse found a seam up the middle, sped through it and then thrust his arms into the air and found teammate Bennett Nicola for a chest bump.
Knockout blow delivered.
The quarterback’s 7-yard touchdown scamper put Stonehouse and his Glenwood Springs teammates up 23-14 over Fort Morgan with just 49 seconds remaining in Saturday’s Class 3A state football championship.
The Demon defense followed with a four-and-out and then Stonehouse took a knee to run out the clock on Glenwood’s first state title since 1980.
Redemption belonged to the Demons.
A year after a devastating loss to underdog Sterling in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs, Glenwood Springs had done it. The 14-0 Demons had the state title they so coveted.
The tears of sadness that flowed like waterfalls at last season’s end were exchanged for tears of joy as the Demons hurried toward the home stands at Cherokee Trail High School’s Legacy Stadium and crooned the team fight song.
That scene soon morphed into a euphoric mob of players, coaches and fans at midfield.
“I can’t explain (the feeling),” Glenwood running back Michael Hudson said with a wide grin. “I don’t want to cry, but I want to cry, but I don’t want to cry, but I’m so happy. I’m laughing and kissing golden balls. It’s amazing right now.”
The golden ball Hudson referenced is the state title trophy, which the Demons took turns kissing amid a throng of bodies.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Hudson said, “that golden ball tasted really good on my lips, man. That’s a sweet taste right there.”
Hudson played a large role in bringing the Demons their first state title in exactly ” that’s right, exactly ” 28 years. His 125 yards on 16 carries were huge, as was his 32-yard run on second-and-9 with time running out on Fort Morgan in the final frame, a rumbling rush that moved the ball into the red zone and set up Stonehouse’s game-icing run.
“I knew my teammates needed me and we had to do whatever we needed to do to win,” Hudson said. “They gave me the ball and I wasn’t going to let my teammates down. I pushed as hard as I could to get that first down.”
Hudson wasn’t the only Demon to deliver on a snowy day in Aurora.
Stonehouse put up big numbers ” 202 yards and two TDs on 20-of-28 passing through the air and 91 yards and a score on the ground, to be precise.
So did wide receiver Kevin Screen, who hauled in five catches for 59 yards and two TDs, and Luke Jacob, who caught four balls for 70 yards with Connor Riley sidelined with a broken foot.
And then there was the Demon defense, which held the Mustangs scoreless on 10 of 12 possessions and produced a first-quarter turnover in the form of an interception by nose guard Taylor Parsons.
“The whole entire defense had their best game of the year,” Stonehouse lauded. “They stopped Fort Morgan, came up with turnovers. They were amazing. I had confidence in our defense. I knew they’d stop them.”
The game started off auspiciously enough for the Demons, who scored first five seconds into the second quarter when Stonehouse hit Kevin Screen with a 5-yard TD pass that Fort Morgan defensive back Ian Moreno got a hand on. Somehow, though, the ball found its way into Screen’s hands and Glenwood had a 7-0 lead.
Clay Hawkins added a 22-yard field goal just with 1 minute and 45 seconds to go until halftime and then the momentum started to shift in the Mustangs’ direction.
Starting at its own 30, Fort Morgan followed with a eight-play drive spanning 1:16 that ended in a 29-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Pape to running back Chris Cobbley, who turned in on his end zone route and hauled in a jump ball.
Up by a not-so-comfortable 10-7 count at halftime, the Demons regrouped and reversed the tide in the second half.
Driving 76 yards on their first second-half possession, they went up 17-7 when Stonehouse hit Screen from 34 yards away on a well-placed bomb up the right sideline. Stonehouse pump-faked left before firing and Screen, with a step on his defender, caught the ball in stride.
But Fort Morgan didn’t go away quietly.
The Mustangs blocked a 45-yard field goal try by Hawkins late in the third quarter and then took the ball 60 yards for a score to make it 17-14 just 14 seconds into the fourth. Cobbley, who finished with 78 yards on 16 carries, capped the drive with a 20-yard TD run.
From there, the Demons turned the game over to their defense, which held Fort Morgan to just a single first down on its final three possessions.
“You know, Glenwood’s a great team,” said Mustangs head coach Harrison Chisum, whose team wrapped the year at 13-1. “They’re a champion. That’s the bottom line. We did some good things and we did some things that weren’t the best. … Glenwood does a great job with what they do, and the bottom line is that they did the things they needed to do to win the championship and we didn’t.”
While Chisum’s players crept off the field with a bitter taste, the Demons savored what they’ve been chasing so obsessively over the last year.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Glenwood linebacker Keenan Hartert. “It’s something I’ve never felt. I hope I’ll feel as happy as I am right now sometime again in my life. We worked so hard for this ” hours and hours after school, in the summer.”
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