Demons drop league opener to Bulldogs, 42-0
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Glenwood Springs High School’s football team couldn’t find a way to solve PD Riddle on Thursday — or the rest of the Palisade Bulldogs, for that matter.
Riddle, the junior quarterback at Palisade, threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more against the overmatched Demons to help the second-ranked Bulldogs roll to a 42-0 victory against Glenwood at Stocker Stadium.
“That’s the best team that we’ve run across all season,” Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth said. “Granted, we haven’t seen everybody. But they’ve go the complete package of run, pass and defense.”
That package started with Riddle, who guided the Bulldogs’ offense with ease against the Demons (0-5, 0-2 Class 3A Western Slope League).
“He’s a special player,” longtime Palisade coach Joe Ramunno said. “He does a great job of running the option and doing good things for us in our offense. He did it with a lot of good pressure from Glenwood, but overall, he’s able to do a lot of things both throwing and running that make us very successful.”
Riddle, who became the Bulldogs’ full-time starting signal caller at the beginning of the season, had more yards of total offense with his 37-yard run in the second quarter than the Demons did as a team in the first half (30). All total, Palisade (5-0, 2-0 3A WSL) amassed 394 yards of total offense, including 330 on the ground.
The Bulldogs’ QB finished with 109 of those rushing yards on just 10 carries. To hear him talk about it, however, he’d be totally content to give the ball to his teammates on every snap.
“If that was the read, I’d do it all the time,” Riddle said. “I’ve got a great team around me. I wouldn’t get the glory then, but that’s OK with me.”
Riddle didn’t play in the second half, as Ramunno unloaded the Bulldogs’ bench at the start of the third quarter with the running-clock mercy rule already in effect. To accompany Riddle’s monster first half, Isaac Meastes finished with 62 rushing yards and added a 47-yard punt return that set up Riddle’s third rushing touchdown of the game.
Matt Osier finished with 50 rushing yards to lead Glenwood, which didn’t get its initial first down of the game until Brady Steen’s 11-yard pass to freshman Luke Gair with 4.4 seconds remaining before halftime.
The Demons also missing Jake Townsley, who was sitting out for a second consecutive game after sustaining a concussion in the Demons’ loss to Brush in Glenwood earlier this month. Instead of starting Matt Osier, who was Glenwood’s starting QB in its loss to Central last week, the Demons started the sophomore Steen, who finished 4-of-10 passing with a pair of interceptions.
Townsley wasn’t the only starter who was missing, though. Whitworth said the Demons were missing five starters, two of whom were academically ineligible.
“We’re undermanned, and for us it’s a week-to-weak deal,” said Whitworth, who was only able to suit up 25 players for Thursday’s game. “Our goals are small now. Things like first downs and touchdowns are what we’re going for. It’s midseason so it’s a critical time for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to get healthy and, well, get eligible.”
Regardless of Glenwood’s woes now, Palisade didn’t play like it felt sorry for the Demons.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good when Maestes capped a six-play, 63-yard drive with his 16-yard scoring run at the 9-minute, 21-second mark of the first quarter. Then after the Demons went three-and-out on their first possession, Riddle capped a 13-play, 90-yard scoring drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Matt Sorenson that staked Palisade to a 15-0 lead after Tanner Pratt’s conversion run.
Riddle then found John Goff for a two-yard TD strike to make it 21-0 after Maestes’ point-after kick hit the upright, then found the end zone himself on runs of 6, 13 and 14 yards. He finished 5-of-6 passing for 64 yards and those two TD passes.
“We really can diversify a bit now,” Ramunno said of Riddle. “But as you saw, he’s pretty good at running the ball too. Either way, he’s a special kid.”
The Demons, who were limited to just 52 yards of total offense and three first downs, continue conference play at Eagle Valley next Friday. Palisade will continue league play next Friday when it goes to Steamboat Springs.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.