Exorcising the ghosts of Sterling
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Time heals all wounds. So does 52 points.And now, after a 52-10 destruction of Roosevelt on Saturday, the ghosts of Sterling have officially been buried.Behind an offensive explosion and a dominating defense, the Glenwood Springs High School Demons advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. For one year, memories of a tormenting 28-27 overtime loss to the Sterling Tigers have lingered like the odor from a sewer plant. There was only one way to banish that memory.With Saturdays victory, the Demons eliminated the word Sterling from their vocabulary. No longer are they an undefeated team that went home too early. They will now travel to Berthoud on the Front Range next week in the next step in a journey Glenwood hopes will take them to a Class 3A state football title.A mention of Sterling and how its constantly hung over the Demons program for a year brought a wry smile from head coach Rocky Whitworth. He too, is obviously tired of talking about that game.It was on everyones mind, and has been over the season, he said about the Sterling loss. Theres a history thats hung around for us all year. People reminded us of it, constantly.That loss has been a big part of the Demons motivation this year. In that game, the Demons grabbed an early lead but some second half turnovers shifted the momentum.This year Glenwood was focused on not letting Roosevelt climb back into the game.Led by quarterback Dakota Stonehouse, who had three scoring strikes in the first half, the Demons scored early and often. Michael Hudson added scoring runs of 46 and 4 yards to propel Glenwood to an impressive 45-10 lead at halftime.Hudson said the Sterling loss has been a constant companion throughout the season, and thats why its nice to bury the memory. We said it all year, no more games like Sterling, said Hudson, who missed the Sterling game due to an injury.Linebacker Aaron Zancanella said he was always thinking about the Sterling torment.There would be times when Id have flashbacks of Sterling and it would just inspire me to play harder, he said.The Demons left little opportunity for Roosevelt to stage a comeback. While the cat-quick offense turned the Roosevelt defense into its own personal toy mouse, the defense mangled the opposing offense like a wrecking ball.The defense limited Roosevelt to just one first down in the first half.Whitworth said Sterling has been a powerful motivation for the Demons for a long time.We started talking about it in the spring, he said, then smiled. Its nice to be able to put it behind us and move on.Moving on means something Glenwood hasnt done since Nov. 10, 1990 the last playoff victory for a Glenwood team. Weve done something that hasnt been done in a while (playoff win), Whitworth said. Now we need to prepare for Berthoud.For Stonehouse, Sterling is now a distant memory.We never want that feeling again, he said. The Sterling game hit us hard and we just talked about not letting it happen again.In two seasons, the Demons have only experienced the pain of a single loss. It took one year to squash that memory. Now, the No. 1 team in Class 3A knows that from here on, a first loss will mean a last loss. Just like last year.Sterling is now a memory for the Glenwood Springs Demons, and their sights have shifted to round two and the Berthoud Spartans.To win a state title, the old adage of one game at a time is very true. The playoff journey starts with the first round. That journey is now one game longer than it was last year.All year long, the Demons have used Sterling as their motivation. Today, the ghosts of Sterling are dead and the dream of winning a state title is alive and well.
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