Rosenmerkel earns trip to All State Game for Glenwood football
Ray Rosenmerkel entered the fall season in the literal and figurative shadow of teammate Blake Nieslanik. With the season over, however, Rosenmerkel is in the spotlight.
The running back/kicker/kick returner/safety earned an invitation to the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s All-State Game in June after a “breakout” season his senior year on the gridiron.
“This was a really special year for me and one of my best seasons,” Rosenmerkel said. “It’s going to be different playing without my teammates that I’ve been with for years, but it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.”
The game recognizes outstanding seniors across classifications 1A-5A, as voted on by members of the coaches association. Players are nominated locally and voted on across the state. The players get to travel to the host site, this year Colorado State University — Pueblo, for free through sponsorships. Up to 60 players are selected for the football competition, a representative for the association said.
Rosenmerkel was named the unanimous 3A Western Slope League special teams Player of the Year after serving as the Demons’ primary kicker, kick returner and running back for the majority of the season.
Rosenmerkel, listed 5-foot 7-inches and 150 pounds on MaxPreps, averaged 120 yards a game and collected 842 all purpose yards. His 103 average yards on offense a game ranked seventh in the league, and he was one of four players with at least 300 yards both rushing and receiving, according to MaxPreps data — though the site is missing statistics for a number of Demons games.
He played whatever role was asked of him. And when fellow senior and lead back and safety Nieslanik went down with a knee injury, a lot was asked of Rosenmerkel. He took over the top slot in the backs depth chart while continuing his duties on special teams. He also sprinkled in some defensive work as needed.
“It was almost the Ray Ray show the entire year,” Glenwood Springs Defensive Coordinator Justin Barham said. “The kid is one of the hardest-working kids out there, so when it’s time to perform, it’s going to happen.”
Barham said Rosenmerkel’s speed was often unmatched on the field, and his size meant he rarely got hit hard, but when he did his work in the weight room it allowed him to rebound and play on every side of the ball.
For his efforts, Rosenmerkel was listed as one of the top seniors in the state of Colorado, earning his trip to Pueblo. For the Air Force Academy hopeful, it could be the last time he puts on the pads barring a walk-on opportunity or a change in trajectory.
Rosenmerkel is viewing it as a chance to have some fun, saying he already put his high school career to rest on Nov. 5, Glenwood’s senior night and a 48-14 rout of Battle Mountain. A total of 14 Demons, including five All-Conference honorees, saw their careers come to an end.
“There’s nothing more special than suiting up for the last game as a Demon, just being with my teammates, with my guys,” Rosenmerkel said. “I love the game of football, but for me it was being with my family that had been built since fourth grade.”
Rosenmerkel was not named to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s All-State rosters. Nieslanik — who came back from his injury to play in the final three games of the season — was named an honorable mention as the Demons lone representative.
But coaches selected Rosenmerkel as one of the top special teams players in the state, and the recognition is not something to write off, according to Barham.
“There’s been a couple select players from Glenwood that have gone to this game,” Barham, a former Demons player, said. “In my time, there was, I think, one every year, every other year, something like that. Then we went through a stretch where nobody got picked. For Ray to get this off of this year is a very, very high accomplishment.”
Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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