Bulldogs nip Demons in OT | PostIndependent.com

Bulldogs nip Demons in OT

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Sean Dunn took a pitch from Jordan Salazar, high-tailed it outside and evaded a series of Glenwood Springs defenders on his way to the end zone.

Game over.

Riding its ball-control offense, Palisade dominated the time-of-possession battle, put up big rushing numbers and scored just enough points to escape Glenwood with a 19-16 overtime win on Friday.

Dunn’s 6-yard touchdown run in the college-style overtime sealed it for the Bulldogs, as the Demons managed only a 34-yard Clay Hawkins field goal on their final possession.

“We had our chances,” Glenwood head coach Rocky Whitworth said. “That’s all I can say. We had our chances, our opportunities. It’s nothing against them. They had a great game plan and they played really well. They played better than us.”

And so the Demons, who managed a mere 148 yards of offense, saw a three-game win streak against the Bulldogs come to an end.

Palisade (5-4 overall, 5-2 in the 3A Western Slope League) can thank its run game for that. The Bulldogs chewed up yardage in tiny bits all night long, collecting first downs in droves and holding possession for 31 minutes, 53 seconds in 48 minutes of regulation.

Palisade finished with 346 yards of offense – 222 on the ground and 124 through the air – and did sprinkle in a big play here and there.

The first such big play came with 3:12 to go in the second quarter, when Salazar dumped a short screen pass to Jesse Brannon, who rumbled 39 yards up the left sideline to deliver Palisade an early advantage.

Glenwood, which had absolutely no success moving the ball on its first two possessions with back-to-back three-and-outs, responded quickly to Palisade’s score.

The Demons tied it when, with 1:21 left in the first half, quarterback Luke Jacob found a hole in the right side of his line and scrambled his way to an 11-yard rushing score. That capped a five-play, 65-yard drive and served to resuscitate Glenwood’s hopes just before halftime.

A look at the halftime stats revealed the Demons really had no business entering the locker room tangled in a tie ballgame. Glenwood managed just four first downs in the half – all on the final scoring drive – and had held the ball for just 4:36.

“We only had 11 snaps on offense in the first half,” Whitworth lamented. “We had very little time to establish anything.”

The game remained tied until Hawkins booted a 37-yard field goal with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter to put the Demons up, 10-7.

Palisade, determined to spoil Glenwood’s homecoming, answered by marching 56 yards on a nine-play scoring drive that spanned 3:15. Dunn provided the capper, plowing into the end zone from 1-yard out.

The drive featured a conversion on fourth-and-4 at the Demon 18-yard line. Dunn provided the heroics there, too, picking up six yards to keep the Bulldogs alive.

Palisade rolled the dice quite often on Friday, coming up with five fourth-down conversion on nine tries. The Bulldogs punted just twice.

The biggest gamble of all, though, came when Palisade went for two following Dunn’s TD run. An extra point would have given the Bulldogs a four-point lead and put the game beyond the reach of a field goal. Glenwood stuffed Palisade’s conversion try, leaving the score at 13-10.

So why go for two?

“We have to beat a team by more than four for us to qualify [for the playoffs],” Bulldogs head coach John Arledge said. “Winning by three, like we did tonight, didn’t do us [any] good. We had to win by more than four.”

What does that mean, exactly?

Well, Palisade is currently in fourth place in the 3A Western Slope League. The top three teams automatically advance to the state playoffs and any team outside the top three can only make the playoffs via a wild-card points system.

According to Arledge, that four-point threshold is a big deal. Big enough of a deal that he opted to roll the dice and go for two.

“I want to go to the postseason,” Arledge said.

Arledge’s need for a five-point win kept the Demons’ hopes alive, and Hawkins went on to kick a 30-yarder with 36 seconds left to force overtime, in which Dunn and the Bulldogs delivered.

“It was a hard environment,” said Dunn, referencing the packed stands on Glenwood’s homecoming night. “We came to win and we did.”

Ronald Kuntz led Palisade with 85 yards rushing on 14 carries. Terry Williams added 53 yards on 14 takes and Dunn had 52 yards on 17 rushes.

Salazar completed 8 of 20 passes for 124 yards.

Tyler Thulson paced Glenwood’s ground game with 65 yards on 10 totes. Jacob finished with 39 yards on 13 carries and had 44 yards on 7-of-15 passing.

Glenwood, now 5-3 overall and 5-1 in the 3A WSL, travels to Moffat County next week. Palisade hosts Rifle.


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