Former Glenwood Springs High School Demons score first trip to final |

Former Glenwood Springs High School Demons score first trip to final

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentDemons' defensive coordinator Neil Goluba keeps a close eye on the team as they warm up prior to Glenwood Springs High School's win over Roosevelt High School in the first round of the state playoffs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Saturday is a big day for the Demons.

Not only for the players, but the coaches, too.

For Glenwood Springs High School football coaches Neil Goluba, Joe Luetke, Eric Nieslanik, Brent Donovan and Jared Walter, Saturday’s Class 3A State Football Championship game is a goal that’s taken each of them a long time to reach.

The five coaches have all worn red and white as members of the Demons’ program and have played on the same field that the current players have battled upon this undefeated season. But this is the first time any of the coaches are going to the state championship game.

Saturday is a big day for Goluba.

“It means a lot,” Goluba said after the team’s Monday practice. “I remember the last time Glenwood was in the playoffs and won the state championship ” I was about 7 years old. I remember going to the playoff games then and the wall of red in the stadium and everything. I remember being really excited and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to play and be a Glenwood Demon.”

He painted a picture similar to the scene at last week’s 47-14 Glenwood win over Mountain View High School that catapulted the Demons into the state championship game for the first time in 28 years.

And, though Goluba and his former teammates, Luetke and Nieslanik, didn’t win a championship themselves as players, that doesn’t make this Saturday’s game any less special being coaches.

“It’s exciting to be on that team again and get Glenwood back to that pulse,” Goluba said.

Luetke contained his excitement, his calm exterior not reflective of his emotions.

But Saturday is a big day for Luetke.

“It is (emotional). It’s something that has never been done in Glenwood, where a team could go undefeated, so it’s a little emotional,” Luetke said.

Luetke, Goluba and Nieslanik all played on the same team for two years. Nieslanik graduated in 1990. Luetke and Goluba graduated in 1991.

Nieslanik, the Demons’ quarterback at the time, made it to the state playoffs two years (’89-’90); Goluba and Luetke returned in ’91.

The three have known defeat. They’ve walked the playoff path before, but the state championship is very different ground.

“Making the quarterfinals is as far as we ever got,” Luetke said. “We’ve gotten over that hump now, and I’m in uncharted waters myself.”

Walter played for the Demons in 1997 when the school decided to play a junior varsity schedule for one year. The next season, the team came back with Walter at quarterback to go 5-5 on the season.

It’s the thrill of not knowing what to expect, the butterflies of the unknown, not ever having traveled the road to a state championship game which makes the ride to the field in Aurora on Saturday all that more exciting for these coaches.

“Think about what we have the opportunity to accomplish,” Nieslanik said. “We get the opportunity Saturday to play for the state championship. I mean, this is it. This is fantastic. Not many people get to experience what we get to experience this weekend.”

And they all get to do it as Demons.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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