Elizabeth gets revenge on Demons
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
AURORA, Colorado – Elizabeth High School’s football team never forgot that snowy November day in Glenwood Springs, the day the Demons dealt the Cardinals a premature end to a promising season.
On Nov. 14, 2009, under blizzard-like conditions at Stubler Memorial Field, Glenwood played a dominant brand of ball en route to a 24-3 win in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
But dejection quickly gave way to determination for the Cardinals, who immediately began working toward a better 2010 fate.
“Our kids took that loss last year personally and said, ‘We don’t want to that to happen to us again,'” Elizabeth coach Chris Cline said. “A couple weeks after, they were back in the weight room and haven’t left it since. That really motivated us all year.”
At Legacy Stadium in Aurora on Saturday, redemption came for Cline and the Cardinals, who claimed the first football title in school history with a 29-6 win over Glenwood Springs.
Riding a filthy defense and the legs of workhorse back Matt Biery, who rushed for 162 yards and two 30-yard touchdowns, Elizabeth capped a 14-0 season by earning Class 3A’s golden ball trophy.
“It’s the state championship,” a fired-up Biery said with a big grin. “We’ve been working 10 years for this. Half our team has been together for that long, since the fourth grade.”
That long-sought state championship took on inevitable status relatively early on Saturday. On just the sixth play of the game, quarterback Dalton Taylor took off around the right corner for a 47-yard TD run. A two-point conversion delivered the Cardinals an 8-0 lead just 2 minutes, 16 seconds into the game.
Glenwood responded with a score on the very next series, with Drew Halsch plowing into the end zone from a yard out to cap a 71-yard march.
Like Elizabeth, Glenwood gambled and went for two, but quarterback Luke Jacob’s pass to Willy Pelland in the back of the end zone skimmed off Pelland’s hands in the face of a defender’s hit.
That is all that Glenwood, which was seeking its second state title in three years, would get.
Biery rambled 30 yards for a score at the 8:57 mark in the second, then added a second 30-yard TD with 11:52 remaining in the fourth.
By the time Zach Butler busted in for a 2-yard score with 7:15 left, the top-seeded Cardinals had their long-coveted state title in the bag.
“That’s a good football team,” Halsch, a senior, said. “They deserved to win this. It was just little mistakes. We never got our mojo, I guess. When we got momentum, maybe a turnover would happen or they’d just stop us on third down and that’d slow us down.”
Entering Saturday’s game, few teams had managed to slow down the second-seeded Demons in 2010, especially in the playoffs.
Defying expectations at every turn, Glenwood outscored Englewood, Lewis-Palmer and Canon City by a collective count of 109-27 in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
That followed a 9-1 regular season that bore the Demons’ third 3A Western Slope League title in four seasons.
“They battled and overcame a lot of adversity at the beginning of the year,” said Glenwood Springs coach Rocky Whitworth, whose team finished up with a 12-2 record. “Really, no one expected us to win the conference championship and every game was a challenge for us. They battled and scratched and clawed and, fortunately, we were successful in enough games to get us to this point.
“Today didn’t go our way. We had to be perfect and we just did not get it done, but I’m so proud of this group of kids.”
Jacob’s 104 yards on 17 carries led the Demons on offense. The senior quarterback finished up with 91 yards and three interceptions on 15-of-27 passing.
Halsch added 49 yards on 10 carries and junior receiver Cam Avery caught eight balls for 64 yards.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Glenwood senior lineman Mike Moreno said. “We gave 110 percent, no matter if it was the fourth quarter or whenever it was. We didn’t quit. That’s what I love. I’d have been upset and sad about it if we didn’t try, but we gave it everything. We didn’t stop.”
And, ever since that snowy November day in Glenwood Springs, neither did Elizabeth.
“They were a better team than us [that day] – flat out,” Biery said. “They came out and did their job. They’re a great team this year, too. That’s probably the hardest we’ve been hit all year long, but we stuck to our guns. We stuck to what we do. We had enough trust in our coaches to get the job done and reach that common goal.”
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