Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Glenwood Springs head coach Rocky Whitworth celebrated his second state title on Saturday. His first came back in 1977 as the 26-year-old football frontman at Roaring Fork.High School.

The Rams beat Brush 44-8 to win the 2A crown that year.

“Valley championships are always the best,” Whitworth said with a big smile.

So does the veteran coach feel like he’s come full circle?

“You know, in a way,” he explained. “But each team is totally different ” players and communities. There’s a lot the same too.”

The Demons’ title was the third in school history and their first at the 3A level.

Glenwood won it all as a 2A school in both 1978 and 1980. Like the 1980 title, the 2008 crown fell on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Whitworth, clutching the golden football trophy his team had just won, bravely handed Glenwood High School’s newest decoration to sophomore linebacker Nick Ciani just outside the Demons’ locker room moments after the game.

Ciani’s mission: To get the thing inside the locker room unscathed.

“Don’t drop it!” the coach instructed. “Don’t set it somewhere it’ll fall. It’s the only one.”

Glenwood’s 2008 championship run came entirely at the expense of Tri-Valley League teams. The Demons defeated Roosevelt 52-10 in the first round, Berthoud 50-39 in the quarterfinals, Mountain View 47-14 in the semifinals and Fort Morgan 23-14 in the championship game.

The Class of 2008 loomed large in the Demons’ minds after Saturday’s championship.

“A lot of this accomplishment we attribute to the seniors of ’08,” said linebacker Keenan Hartert, a senior this year. “They taught us by example. They taught us so much. We love each and every one of them. We regret letting them down (last year), but this is for them as much as it is for us.”

Connor Riley, who sat out the final two games of the postseason with a broken foot, happily thrust his crutches into the air many times from the sidelines on Saturday.

Though he wasn’t out on the field with his teammates, the senior wide receiver sweated the game out right along with his fellow Demons.

“It’s way more nerve-wracking (on the sidelines),” he said. “I have no control over it. I was jumping up and yelling the whole game. It was awesome.”

Luke Jacob’s four catches and 70 yards were huge in the absence of Riley.

“When Connor got hurt, I had to learn his position and sub for him,” Jacob said.

Jacob was just the latest Demon to fill in admirably for Riley.

In a win over Berthoud in the quarterfinal, Trey Fox came up with 37-yard, go-ahead touchdown catch.

Most every Demon had trouble expressing his joy after Saturday’s win.

“I don’t know what to feel like,” senior linebacker Jordan Ciani, a team captain said. “I don’t know how to take it.”

Added senior quarterback and fellow captain Dakota Stonehouse, standing next to his classmate: “We’ve been working so hard for this. To finally reach the dream and make it come true … I’m speechless.”

Despite the day opening under overcast skies, snowfall and chilly temperatures, Glenwood Springs assistant coach Joe Luetke didn’t want to break tradition.

He showed up at Legacy Stadium in shorts, normal game-day attire for the Demon alum.

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