Glenwood buries Elizabeth in first round of state playoffs
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Identity established.
After a season spent toiling in the shadow of one of the greatest football teams in Glenwood Springs High School history, the 2009 edition of the Demons made quite the statement on Saturday.
With its defense holding Elizabeth to just 100 yards and its offense churning out big gains on the ground, Glenwood rolled to a 24-3 win over the visiting Cardinals on a snowy Saturday at Stubler Memorial Field.
The first-round playoff win earned the defending state champion Demons a trip to the Class 3A state quarterfinals. They’ll face Valor Christian on the road next weekend.
“It’s great to see,” Glenwood head coach Rocky Whitworth said. “They’ve lived in a shadow, but they’re not in a shadow now. They’re a bright, shining light.”
Whitworth has talked at length this season about the Demons establishing an identity. Losing some 20 seniors from last year’s state championship squad, new faces had to emerge if Glenwood had any hope of a successful season.
On Saturday, those new faces delivered their biggest win to date. It’s safe to say that identity Whitworth hoped to see take shape has, well, taken shape.
“I think we’re right about there,” junior quarterback Luke Jacob said with a grin.
Behind an offensive line that pried open huge holes much of the day, Jacob and his backfield mates made their living with the run game.
Tyler Thulson, all 5 feet, 8 inches and 160 pounds of him, finished with a game-high 145 yards on 28 carries. His 14-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 22 seconds left served as the knockout punch.
Garrett Kobobel, who turned a couple of busted punt plays into big yards, added a pair of long TD runs and finished with 67 yards on just five carries.
Jacob added 68 yards on 13 carries as Glenwood, now 7-4 overall, finished with 276 yards on the ground.
With heavy snow falling much of the afternoon, the passing game never had much of a chance to develop.
“The conditions played a huge part,” Kobobel said. “Our passing statistics weren’t very good. Luke was throwing good, but with wet hands, we just couldn’t bring it in. The second half we just came out and relied on our running game. That took us home.”
Jacob completed just 2 of 12 passes for 15 yards as receivers had little luck getting their hands on the ball.
The Demons also overcame three lost fumbles and an interception.
“We don’t usually do that, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Whitworth said. “When you have bad play in one place, somebody else has to pick it up. I like the way the kids fought through some adversity, too, with bad field position and such. We hung in there and finally made it happen.”
With its offense struggling, Glenwood fell behind early when, with 4:13 left in the opening quarter, Calvin Lockerby drilled a 21-yard field goal to put Elizabeth up 3-0.
The Demons finally found their offense early in the second quarter, piecing together a 11-play, 76-yard scoring drive that featured a wacky play.
Facing fourth-and-3 from his team’s own 31-yard line, Kobobel set up to punt. He bobbled the snap, leaving the senior with no choice other than to scramble. He broke a tackle and took off to his left for a 13-yard gain and Glenwood’s first first down of the day.
“I just bobbled the snap and figured I might as well run it,” said Kobobel, who had a virtually identical busted punt play that went for 79 yards called back in the fourth quarter. “I could go for a loss or try to pick up some yards. It just turned out for the best.”
Kobobel went on to cap the drive with a 19-yard scoring run that featured a broken tackle and spin move.
That’s all the Demon defense would need.
“The defense played great,” Whitworth said. “I just think that their play gave us the most chances to score and keep the ball, because we were dropping it and fumbling the ball.”
Clay Hawkins booted a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to give Glenwood a 10-3 lead and Kobobel and Thulson provided a rushing score apiece in the fourth quarter to put the game beyond the Cardinals’ reach.
While Glenwood’s season lives on, Elizabeth wrapped an 8-3 campaign.
“Our offense didn’t do the job today,” said Cardinals coach Chris Cline, Rifle High School’s former assistant football coach and athletic director. “Our defense gave us opportunities in the first half. Our defense played great.”
Matt Biery led Elizabeth, the 10th seed in the 16-team playoff bracket, with 24 rushing yards on 11 carries. Dalton Taylor completed 8 of 22 passes for 65 yards.
“I’m very pleased with these kids,” Cline said. “They played their rear ends off against some really good competition. We weren’t expecting to make the playoffs this year. We graduated a huge senior class last year. Our kids fought back and went 8-2 this year. I’m so proud of these kids.”
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