Demons escape shutout from Palisade
Methodical, powerful and punishing.
Those are the traits the Palisade Bulldogs brought to Stubler Memorial Field Friday night. Those and the No. 1 ranking in Class 3A football.
Behind the one-two attack of senior fullback Levon Davis and senior tailback Jason Popick, the Bulldogs dismantled the Glenwood Springs Demons 35-3.
Popick, who rushed for 155 yards and scored on runs of 15, 2 and 14 yards, led the punishing ground game. But the Demons kept things close with a stout interior defense led by Zach Weast, Nathan Forristal and Justin Montover.
Glenwood played the game shorthanded, with three players sitting out due to injury and another three missing due to team violations.
Demons head coach Rocky Whitworth was pleased with the effort of his team.
The loss dropped Glenwood to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in Western Slope League play. Palisade is now 4-0 and 3-0
“The kids played hard. Sooner or later the breaks will go our way,” he said.
Palisade took advantage quickly when Davis broke free for a 28-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. That was the beginning of a methodical 13-play, 80-yard drive that took 5:25 off the clock. The drive, all running plays, ended with Popick scampering in from 15 yards out.
The Demons’ defense thwarted the Bulldogs on their next three plays. Weast sacked quarterback Jake Watt for a loss of seven on first down.
On fourth down, the Bulldogs gambled and came up big on a fake punt when Watt found a wide open Tanner Whaley for a 34-yard pass play down the left sideline.
After a 34-yard run by Popick, Watt scooted in from the three for a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs scored on their third possession to up the lead to 21-0.
The Demons went three-and-out of their first two possessions but found some rhythm on their third drive.
Quarterback Eric Lundin hooked up with senior Jeremy Christner for a 22-yard gain but the drive ended when Daniel Mierkey was stopped for no gain on a screen pass on fourth down.
Glenwood’s defense stiffened on the next Palisade drive. Montover stuffed Davis for a loss of one, then Mierkey knocked down a fourth down pass at the Demons’ 10-yard line.
After exchanging turnovers, including a fumble recovery by Glenwood’s Matt Miller, Lundin hit Christner for 10, the senior quarterback then bolted up the middle for 17 yards.
The drive stalled with :59 remaining in the half, and senior Dylan Weller drilled a 29-yard field goal. Glenwood’s Conner Jackson intercepted a Watt pass near the end of the half.
Palisade added to the lead when Davis found a hole up the middle, cut left and galloped 61 yards down the sideline to the four. Two plays later, he powered his way into the end zone. Davis ended with 164 yards on the ground.
In the fourth quarter, Glenwood put together its best drive of the night, which included three straight first-down plays.
Lundin drilled a pass to Christner, who had four catches through the night, for 15 yards. Montover then bulled his way up the middle for 13 yards to move the ball to the 50. Lundin ran for 13 yards then hooked up with Montover for a 20-yard gain to the Bulldogs’ 27. After an 8-yard run by Montover and a 6-yard lunge by Lundin, the drive ended with a fumble at the 9-yard line.
Palisade coach John Ariedge said his team played well.
“The kids played hard. We were physical and did some good things tonight,” he said.
Glenwood hosts Rifle next Friday at Stubler Memorial Field.
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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.