State final brings back memories for former Glenwood Springs players |

State final brings back memories for former Glenwood Springs players

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Doug Meyers remembers the oppressive cold, the diesel heaters and snow piled high.

Scott Bolitho recalls playing for his teammates and his teammates playing for him.

Coach Don Miller remembers pretty much everything that happened on those two fateful afternoons, afternoons that went down as the fondest in the history of Glenwood Springs football.

Those afternoons ” the first falling on Dec. 2, 1978, and the second on Nov. 29, 1980 ” bore the only two football state titles in Glenwood’s history.

With the 2008 Demons gunning for the school’s third state title on Saturday, on the 28th anniversary of its second crown, state title-game memories are registering a little more vividly for the heroes of 1978 and 1980.

“I tell you what,” Meyers, a defensive end and tight end for the 1978 team, said, “it’s unbelievable. It brings you back. Even though I don’t have a kid playing, I feel for every one of these kids. I know what it’s like to go through this, how much it meant to you at the time.”

Meyers, like many a Demon alum who suited up for either of the two title teams, will be headed to Legacy Stadium in Aurora on Saturday as his alma mater shoots for that third title.

A win over Fort Morgan would do the trick.

Don Miller, the legendary longtime coach of Glenwood football who oversaw both title teams, is also enjoying the 2008 ride. He too will be in Aurora on Saturday.

After watching the Demons beat Mountain View last week, Miller found current quarterback Dakota Stonehouse at midfield, gave him a hug and thanked him for the new memories. Memories that, from the sound of it, the old coach will treasure nearly as much as the ones he helped create.

Even if these new memories are coming from an entirely different vantage point for Miller.

“It’s different when you’re in the stands than when you’re on the sidelines,” he said. “I never heard (the crowd) as much on the sidelines coaching. It’s a terrific atmosphere. It’s pretty neat.”

Miller’s also watching a drastically different style of football with the present-day Demons.

“It’s not three yards and a pile of dust,” he said, referencing Glenwood’s spread offense that has Stonehouse chucking passes all over the field.

Differences aside, it’s been a fun ride for the Demons of yesterday.

“I get goose bumps every time they get closer to the final,” said Mike Dominguez, a running back for the 1978 team. “It’s really exciting to go through something like that. I’ll never forget it. I’ll always cherish the state championship.”

Todd Thulson, a center for the 1980 team, has more than just school pride on the line as he roots on the 2008 Demons. His son, Tyler, is on the team.

Consequently, Thulson’s nerves are getting a workout.

“If they win this, they’ll have a feeling of satisfaction words can’t even describe,” he said. “It’s nerve-wracking right now. We’ll see what happens.”

Come Saturday afternoon, he and all in Demonland will have resolution. Until then, though, Demonland dwellers are happy to reminisce about the program’s prior glory days.

Talk to anyone that played in the 1978 title game and you’ll surely hear about the conditions.

Snow ” and lots of it ” piled up on what is now known as Stubler Memorial Field in the days prior to the Demons’ 2A title game against Valley.

“My dad worked at Mid-Continent (Coal) and brought out a whole bunch of diesel heaters to use on the sidelines for the players. It was so cold,” Meyers recalled. “There had to be 150, 200 people out there before the game trying to get the field prepared.”

Fancy athletic apparel like Under Armour didn’t exist back then, so players sported women’s nylons to fend off the chill.

“We all wore women’s nylons,” Meyers admitted. “It worked better for us, kind of a prelude to Under Armour.”

But the cold didn’t take the bite out the Demons, who scored early and often, on defense and on offense, in stifling visiting Valley 39-12.

The win over Valley brought Glenwood’s season to a triumphant close at 12-1. The Demons’ only loss of the season came at the hands of Steamboat Springs, the first chapter of an intriguing link between the schools.

In 1979, one of two blemishes in 2A state champion Steamboat’s overall record was a loss to Glenwood Springs and then, in 1980, the Demons won the title with one defeat on its ledger.

Guess who delivered that setback?

The Sailors.

Glenwood served up a stirring reprise of its 1978 title by going 12-1 and winning it all again in 1980.

It was a reprise most Demons thought should have been served up a season earlier. In 1979, Glenwood entered the playoffs undefeated before a stunning playoff exit.

Thulson remembers the motivation the disappointing 1979 finish provided in 1980.

“We almost felt like it was our obligation to win it,” he remembered. “I think, honestly, our class was like underdogs.”

Thulson and the Demons embraced the role and plowed through the playoffs and into the title game against Fountain Fort Carson.

After falling behind 6-0 at halftime, turning the ball over four times in the process, Glenwood surged to a 21-6 win to claim the 2A crown on their home field.

“It was the greatest feeling,” Thulson said. “Once the final horn sounds, it’s such a feeling of satisfaction. All the work comes through at that point. We still constantly talk about. We always argue which team was better ” the 1978 team or the 1980 team.”

Thulson can only hope and pray that, come Saturday, his son gets to experience what he experienced 28 years ago.

He can only hope and pray that his alma mater can write a happy ending to another thrilling chapter of Glenwood football history.

Tom Hartert, who played on the 1978 team, knows the feeling. His son, Keenan, is a linebacker for the 2008 Demons.

“It’s definitely more nerve-wracking ” and fun ” to watch your kid,” he said, “because the kids are the ones doing all the hard work, and we’re getting a lot of the fun in the stands, watching. It’s even more nerve-wracking as a parent than I remember it being as a player.”

Just as Hartert and Thulson controlled their own destiny in their heyday, so do their sons in 2008.

Those 2008 Demons may soon join their state-champion predecessors in having their very own fateful afternoon to remember.

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