Late surge lifts Glenwood Springs past football rival Palisade
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Luke Jacob was upset about the miscues he made on Thursday against Palisade. However, the big plays he made more than made up for that.
The Glenwood Springs senior quarterback amassed 298 yards of total offense, and the two late scoring drives he orchestrated rallied the Demons to a 21-20 victory at Stocker Stadium in the Class 3A Western Slope League opener for both teams.
“I did not play a good game at all,” Jacob said, shaking his head. “That was all thanks to the team.”
Granted, Palisade (3-1 overall, 0-1 in the 3A WSL) intercepted three Jacob passes and nearly put the game out of reach early thanks to some of the miscues by the Demons (3-1, 1-0). Regardless, Glenwood recovered and rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter.
“Playing early in the season, this will just kind of set a course now,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said. “For us to face each other, it’s just kind of a unique situation. I don’t know if either one of us wanted it.
“But to me,” he continued, “we were the ones who faced up to it and ended up the fortunate ones.”
That fortune was thanks in part to the Demons’ defense, which allowed only 67 yards on the ground and 230 yards of total offense. Palisade did use some big plays to build its two-touchdown lead, but Glenwood answered with some big-time plays of its own.
“We came out of the gates really unfocused,” said Jacob, whose team amassed 10 penalties for 65 yards in the first half. “Regaining our focus later on made a big difference.”
Luke McLean had a pair of TD passes and Jamr Rhodes returned a blocked field goal 52 yards for a TD to account for Palisade’s scoring.
McLean finished 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards, and his 37-yard strike to Ronald Kuntz gave the Bulldogs a 20-8 lead with 1 minute, 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jacob did finish 16-of-29 passing for 155 yards and three picks, and his 143 rushing yards on 17 carries also paced the Demons. Drew Halsch added 95 rushing yards on 18 carries for Glenwood, which committed 10 of its 12 penalties in the first half.
Palisade held a slim halftime lead despite Glenwood’s dominant offensive performance early on. The Demons outgained the Bulldogs, 132-2, in the first 12 minutes and capped a 13-play, 64-yard drive with a 6-yard pass from Jacob to Cam Avery. That tied the game at 8 with 30 seconds on the clock after Jacob’s conversion pass to Willy Pelland.
The Bulldogs had a chance to break the game open at the end of the first half. Rhodes picked off a pass from Jacob on the final play of the second quarter, returning the ball 56 yards before he was stopped at Glenwood’s 1 on a shoestring tackle by Jacob.
“That still doesn’t make up for the pick,” Jacob said. “I’m glad I ran him down and I’m glad he didn’t score, but it was still a bad play on my part.”
McLean’s TD pass to Kuntz made it 20-8 Palisade with 1:17 left in the third after the conversion run failed, but Jacob followed with a 50-yard TD scamper at the 11:42 mark of the fourth. The Demons forced three-and-out possessions the next two times Palisade got the ball, and Glenwood took the lead for good on a 4-yard plunge from Halsch and a point-after kick from J.D. Weeden with 2:04 remaining.
Palisade had one more shot, driving to Glenwood’s 41 with 12.4 seconds left to play. But McLean’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete, giving the Demons a big win to start the league season.
“I was more nervous during that last drive than our drive to [go ahead],” Jacob said. “We got the win, though. That’s what matters.”
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon closed around 9 p.m. Thursday for a flash flood warning.