Vidakovich column: A Prime Time Saturday

Mike Vidakovich
Mike Vidakovich.

As I was sitting on the deck of the Glenwood Golf Club a couple of weeks ago enjoying a cheeseburger and a beverage with my friend and golfing partner Rick Chavez, the subject of Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes crept into our conversation. Actually, the subject came up when staunch CU fan Scott Bolitho strolled by the deck on his way to the putting green. We started to debate and give viewpoints as to how the season ahead would unfold, with all three of us pretty much coming to the conclusion that the Buffs should be better than last year’s 1-11 debacle, but how much better remained a gray area.

With Chavez checking his phone for some up to date betting lines, we discovered that the over and under on CU’s win total for the season was 3.5 victories. It was agreed that the boys in Boulder would surpass that, but not by much. When I saw the spread on CU’s first game with Texas Christian had the Buffs as almost three touchdown underdogs, I told Chav to place the bet. Go with the Buffs and take the points.

Since Chavez is an oil company executive, I know he didn’t really need his winnings on that bet to survive and feed his family, but maybe I can coax him into picking up the tab for the next round of burgers and Mountain Dews at the golf course. (Just for the record, he usually does pick up the check. I owe him enough hamburgers, beers and breakfasts at the 19th Street Diner to last a lifetime.)

And also for the record, I never thought the Buffs could go into Fort Worth, Texas and defeat the team that played for the college football national championship last year. I believed they would be better, and Coach Prime told everyone to believe, but I thought escaping that environment with a win was out of the question. The Buffs answered the call, and the skeptics, in a big way.

I didn’t see the first half of the game on Saturday morning. I chose instead to go out to the Glenwood High School Gymnasium and check out some of the Demon Invitational Volleyball Festival. I specifically went to watch the Roaring Fork girls at 9 a.m., with the Lady Demons to follow at 10:30 a.m. I knew that I would miss part of the football game, but I wanted to see some of the girls that I will get to work with this winter in Carbondale during basketball season, and some that I had coached here in Glenwood when they were in Eighth grade.

As I expected they would, both schools put a lot of talented young ladies on the court, and there was certainly no shortage of spirit and enthusiasm. The Rams managed to edge past Weld Central in a closely contested affair. It was great to see Carley and Erica Crownhart, Maddie Anderson, and Nikki Tardif. All four of those girls will play a big part in how far Roaring Fork goes on the hardwood this winter.

The Roaring Fork coach is Karen (Nieslanik) Crownhart. Along with being Carley and Erica’s mom, she is a good coach and mentor to the Rams, putting in a lot of time to make sure the kids get the best experience possible. Whenever I see her though, I can’t help but have these nightmarish flashbacks to the basketball season of 1991. It was my first year coaching the Glenwood girls’ varsity, and Karen was a senior and part of the Roaring Fork basketball dynasty that Coach Tom Benyo had built in Carbondale. I remember vividly the two thorough beat downs they put on us that year, but those RF teams served as a model for what I wanted the Lady Demon program to become, and from that point on, we worked extremely hard and started to get better each year.

Not only did I get to watch them play on Saturday, I also got to chat with a few of my former eighth-grade basketballers who are now seniors at GSHS. Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden once said you should never single out favorite players or teams, but that group remains number one in my heart of the four years I was on the sideline at Glenwood Middle School. We finished the year with a pedestrian 6-6 record, but those girls were a delight from the day I met them.

Tess Goscha, Rilyn Goluba and Zoey Hyatt-Worley all came to my spot in the corner of the old gym to say hi and share a hug. I didn’t get to talk with Bailey Winder, but I enjoyed watching her putting the smack down on a few spikes at the net during the game. The others on that team (that I can remember) were Avery Johnson, Madison Stewart, Delaney McPherson and Skylar Baltzer.

As for Coach Prime, he keeps saying we’re coming, but based on what I saw on Saturday, his Buffaloes are already here. Another stern test awaits Colorado this coming Saturday when the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their legion of red-clad followers invade Folsom Field. Having attended several CU/Nebraska games in the past, it always amazed me how much of that stadium was adorned in Red. I hope that’s not the case this time around.

I think it’s a legitimate statement to say that CU has not one, but three players who could end up on Heisman Trophy ballots at the end of the season. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders managed to surpass the all-time CU passing record for total yards with 510 in his first time out in black and gold (or maybe I should say all white.) Tailback Dylan Edwards rushed for 159 yards and was the first freshman to start at that position since 1991. Then there’s 5-star recruit Travis Hunter who plays wide receiver and cornerback for the Buffs. It’s almost unheard of in this day and age outside of the high school ranks to see a player going both ways, but Hunter managed 119 receiving yards to go along with a touchdown saving interception in the third quarter that you won’t see anyone playing on Sundays do any better.

Coach Prime is a generational sports personality for Colorado much in the same mold as a John Elway, Floyd Little, Peyton Manning, David Thompson, Hale Irwin, Joe Sakic, Todd Helton and Nikola Jokic. Hey, I’m going to throw in Charlie Blackmon to that club also because I love the guy.

My Prime Time Saturday ended in style when I got a late afternoon text from 1979 GSHS graduate Chris Massaro. Massaro is now the athletic director at Middle Tennessee State University and he sent me a picture and greeting from the field at Bryant-Denney Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where his Blue Raiders were getting set to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Blue Raiders had a tough go of it against the Tide, and up next they have to make a trip to face the Missouri Tigers, but anytime I hear from my old buddy Chris, it’s a good day.

This time it just happened to be the ending to a Prime Time Saturday.

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at

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