Glenwood hangs on for homecoming win over Huskies
In a true team effort Friday night at Stubler Memorial Field for Homecoming Night at Glenwood Springs High School, the Demons came up big in all three phases of the game, helping Glenwood pull off a 21-14 win over the visiting Battle Mountain Huskies in 3A Western Slope League action.
The Demons forced five turnovers by the Huskies, blocked a punt for a touchdown and got a big performance in the passing game from senior quarterback Brady Steen before hanging on late in the second half for the win, in which the defense bent but didn’t break.
Battle Mountain, running a option-based offense, dominated possession on the night as the Glenwood offense gained just nine first downs in the game, but the defense came up big time and time again, forcing a two turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter, allowing the Glenwood offense to run out the clock in a thrilling homecoming victory.
“That’s the thing about that [Battle Mountain] offense,” Glenwood Head Coach Rocky Whitworth said. “We had the ball for one play in the third quarter. One play. We scored on it, but just one play. We just had to make hay when we had the chance, but the boys on defense were battling when they were in there. We’re a little undersized at linebacker, but John [Jensen], Jack [Reis] and Josh [Sanchez] did a really good job battling tonight.”
One week after struggling offensively, the Demons turned to Steen to direct the offense. The senior came through in a big way, completing 14-of-22 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the win, providing Glenwood with a way to move the ball as the team struggled to run the ball against a tough Husky front, gaining just 41 yards on 15 attempts.
Glenwood started fast offensively after the opening kick-off as Steen hooked up with senior AJ Crowley for a 22-yard catch-and-run before then finding junior Gavin Olson for 5 yards. But from there the opening drive stalled, forcing the Demons to punt the ball away to the Huskies.
Battle Mountain wasted little time, marching 94 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard rush from junior Nick Walter 6:46 into the first quarter. The Huskies covered 67 yards on one play as junior quarterback Traver Golberg hooked up with senior running back Charlie Morrow down the right sideline, setting up the Huskies at the 5-yard line of the Demons.
Following Battle’s quick start to the game, Glenwood attempted to get going again offensively, but the Demons would go three-and-out, punting the ball away again. This time though, the Huskies muffed the punt, giving Glenwood a second life at the 34-yard line of Battle Mountain.
The drive would stall though as the Demons turned the ball over on downs at the Battle 26-yard line.
Battle Mountain marched down the field again, but this time the Demon defense stood tall in its own end, forcing the Huskies to settle for a 42-yard field goal attempt by senior Nelson Ledezma. The snap on the field goal was low, forcing Ledezma to pick up the loose ball before being slammed to the ground, putting an end to the Huskies’ drive.
Glenwood then went three-and-out again, but this time — facing a fourth and 21, the Demons attempted a fake punt with Olson, who gained just eight yards, giving the ball back to Battle Mountain in great field position.
Four plays later Jensen stepped in front of a throw from Golberg, giving the Demons the ball right back, looking to get going offensively.
Steen found Olson for 17 yards and junior Erwin Rodriguez for 10 yards to get the offense rolling. Steen then found Crowley for nine yards before hooking up with Rodriguez for 23 yards up the seam. But following the catch, Rodriguez tried to fight for extra yardage, fumbling the ball away to Battle Mountain inside the Huskies’ 10-yard line.
In what looked to be a momentum-killing turnover, the Glenwood defense had to march back onto the field with the Huskies pinned deep in their own end.
That’s when things took a turn in favor of the Demons as the Huskies were hit with a intentional grounding penalty on third down, forcing them to punt from their own end zone. On the punt, Rodriguez — making up for his fumble a few plays earlier — raced in untouched off the right end to block the punt in the end zone, recovering the kick for a touchdown, tying the game at 7-7 with 7:15 left in the second quarter.
“We actually saw something on film earlier in the week,” Whitworth said. “The coaches did a great job installing that block into the play book this week, and it was something that would give us a chance to block it. Erwin came in and made a big play, which was huge.”
On Battle’s next possession the Huskies fumbled the ball away near midfield as Glenwood junior Jack Richards pounced on the loose ball, setting the Demons up with great field position.
Six plays later Steen found Olson from 10 yards out for the go-ahead score just before the half. Olson went on to finish with four catches for 43 yards and one touchdown on the night.
Following a long halftime break for homecoming festivities, the two teams came back out onto the field with the Huskies getting first crack at trying to tie the game.
It would be all for not though as the Huskies had to punt the ball away. Disaster struck again in punt formation as the snap sailed over Ledezma’s head, where the Husky senior recovered the ball at his own 9-yard line, giving Glenwood possession deep in Battle Mountain territory.
One play later junior Miguel Herrera walked into the end zone from 9 yards out to stretch the Glenwood lead to 21-7 with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
Battle answered back in strong fashion though, marching 86 yards in 14 plays before Goldberg found senior Jacob Bukovich from 13 yards out, pulling the Huskies to within 21-14 with 21 seconds to go in the third quarter.
But that would be it for the scoring on the night as Glenwood wasted a great opportunity to score as freshman Mitchell Ortiz took the ensuing kick-off back for an 80-yard return, but five plays later the Demons fumbled the ball away.
Steen threw an interception late near midfield, but the Demon defense stood tall one final time on the night as junior safety Wyatt Ewer stepped in front of Golberg’s final pass of the night for the interception, sealing the win for Glenwood.
With the win, Glenwood improves to 4-3 (1-1 3A WSL) on the season. the Demons travel to Summit next Friday for a league matchup with the Tigers at 7 p.m.
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Independence Pass opened just before 2 p.m. Friday after closing earlier this week because of a series of snowstorms, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman said Friday.