Unusual playoff tiebreaker for Glenwood Springs Demons
“The exciting event Saturday afternoon was the weird playoff following the regulation game – to determine which of the closely matched squads would meet Delta for the Western Slope Class A Title.” – Glenwood Post, Nov. 20, 1947 After achieving two nonconference losses and one nonconference win, Garfield County High School Demons football coach Nick Stubler began making changes to his team lineup. On Oct. 3, 1947, the Demons would open their conference season against the Rifle Bears at Rifle. Work was needed if the team was to make it to the Western Slope Championship at the end of November.Adjustments to the team lineup along with extensive practice allowed Glenwood Springs to hold its own against Rifle at the Oct. 3 match. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. However, this put the team in a must-win situation in its Oct. 17 conference match with Fruita. Fruita was known for its “razzle-dazzle” passing attack. Coach Stubler again shifted his lineup, worked on the team’s offense and set up a pass defense. The strategy worked. Glenwood Springs was victorious, 18-6.By the Armistice Day game of Nov. 11, the Demons had achieved in conference play two wins and one tie. In nonconference play they accomplished two wins, two losses and a tie. The team was injured, and some members suffered from minor illnesses when they played Rifle again. The Armistice Day game ended in another 0-0 tie. The Demons and Bears were tied for the Colorado Valley Championship.To settle the gridiron gridlock, the Demons and Bears met for a playoff game Nov. 15, 1947, at Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park. It was a hard-fought game, with both teams threatening a win. Regulation play brought again another 0-0 tie. Rifle and Glenwood Springs were declared conference co-champions, but the tie needed to be broken to decide the team going on to the Western Slope Championship.The football was placed at the 50-yard line. Each team had six chances to run the ball, with teams alternating offense and defense. Rifle received first possession, running the ball into a strong Glenwood line for a single-yard gain. Glenwood then made a short pass to the Rifle 47-yard line. Rifle tried to cut through the Demon front line for only a single-yard gain. The Demons then broke through the Bear’s line for a gain to the Rifle 45. The Bears gained a yard, and then held Glenwood at the Rifle 46.The fans were at the edge of their seats when Rifle elected for a long pass. Half the Demon defense sacked the Rifle quarterback at the Rifle 34 for a large loss. Likewise, Glenwood was held for a 2-yard loss. Rifle then drove ahead 3 yards to the Rifle 39, only to have Glenwood drive forward to the Rifle 35. On Rifle’s last play, a pass was knocked down at the Rifle 35. The Demons’ last play smothered the ball at the Rifle 35 to win the game, 2-0.The Delta Panthers met the Demons on a wet and snowy Nov. 21, 1947, to decide the Western Slope Championship. The game remained scoreless until the final two minutes. Delta won, 6-0.Demon fans were undaunted. Their team had battled fairly and had improved. The future of Glenwood Springs football proved to be a bright one. “Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.
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