Demons fall short on Senior Night
In a matchup of two struggling teams looking to finish the season on a positive note, Friday, the Glenwood Springs Demons fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Steamboat Springs Sailors, 14-9, at Stubler Memorial Field.
Celebrating Senior Night, the Demons wanted to go out with a bang to end a trying season, but their offense couldn’t cap off drives with points consistently in the five-point loss to the Sailors.
Junior quarterback Jake Townsley threw three interceptions, including one in the redzone, but redeemed himself late with a 24-yard scoring strike to Sonny Reynolds, but the Demons couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, allowing the Sailors to run out the clock for the win.
This was a big win for us tonight,” Steamboat head coach Lonn Clementson said. “We knew Glenwood was never going to quit, especially with Rocky [Whitworth] in charge. We know how tough his teams are. They were celebrating Senior Night, but this was the last game for our seniors as well. We’re just so proud of our kids’ performance tonight.”
Despite dropping their ninth game of the season to finish 1-9 overall, the Demons appeared to be in control early as the Glenwood defense stood tall to start the game, forcing three straight three and outs, giving their offense ample opportunity and good field position to put points on the board.
That’s just what the Demons did on their first drive of the game as Townsley complete two straight 12-yard passes to Luke Gair, while running back Easton Gaddis picked up 24 yards on eight carries.
With the ball Sailors’ 6-yard line, Townsley was sacked by Steamboat’s Matthew Hansen, forcing the Demons to settle for a 30-yard field goal from senior Herbie Vega, which just skimmed over the crossbar to give the Demons a 3-0 lead with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter Townsley took a shot deep from his own 17-yard line looking for Reynolds, but the pass was picked off at midfield by Steamboat’s Payton Mcelhiney, giving the Sailors great field position.
Ten plays later senior quarterback Zachary Ryan Holm plunged into the end zone from one yard out to give the Sailors a 7-3 lead just before halftime.
Glenwood had just 1:10 left in the second quarter to try and put some points on the board heading into halftime, but Townsley was picked off by Ernesto Saenz to end the half with Steamboat on top.
Turning the tables on Glenwood, the Sailors forced a quick Demons three and out to start the second half and promptly capitalized on offense.
Facing a short 4th and 2 from the Demons’ 43-yard line, Holm rolled right and lofted a perfectly-thrown ball to Christopher Kaminski for a 41-yard gain down to the Glenwood 2-yard line.
On the very next play Holm waltzed into the end zone untouched, giving the Sailors a 14-3 lead with 7:42 left in the third quarter.
Trying to get back into the game, the Demons faced a 4th and 8 from their own 44-yard line. Looking for any spark to get their offense going in the second half, the Demons ran a fake punt, which saw junior Ben Liotta race 44 yards over the right side for a momentum-swinging first down inside Sailors territory.
Unfortunately, the Demons couldn’t capitalize as Townsley was intercepted by Mcelhiney for the second time in the game, this one at the goal line, keeping the Demons off the board.
“I thought we moved the ball really well tonight, offensively” Demons head coach Rocky Whitworth said. “We were awesome at times, but we struggled with turnovers, including that one right there at the goal line. That one could have made a difference if we would have put that one in.”
Following the interception by Mcelhiney, the Sailors tried to march 99 yards to ice the game on a snowy night.
Holm was the workhorse on the drive for Steamboat, throwing or running the ball an astounding 16 times out of the 19 plays that the Sailors ran before Holm was picked off by Townsley at the Demons’ 30-yard line.
“He [Holm] was excellent tonight for us, but he got some help from the guys around him,” Clementson said. “He really stepped up for us when we needed him to and ran really, really hard.”
Desperately trying to pull off the comeback and win on Senior Night for his brother, Matt, and the rest of the Demons seniors, Jake Townsley marched Glenwood down the field through the air, connecting with senior Matt Osier on a screen pass for eight yards and junior Luke Patch for 38 yards, but on 4th and 10 at the Sailors’ 21-yard line, Townsley couldn’t connect with Gair for the first down, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Glenwood defense then quickly forced a Steamboat three and out, giving the Demons the ball back at their own 31-yard line.
From there, Townsley connected with Patch for 32 yards and Gaddis for nine yards before finding Reynolds on a double-move in the back of the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown to bring the Demons within five, 14-9, after a failed two-point conversion.
But, much like the season has gone all year, the Demons couldn’t come up with one more big play late, failing to recover the onside kick, allowing the Sailors to run out the clock to win, 14-9, in the final game of the regular season.
After the game, Whitworth pulled his seniors aside in a touching tribute, letting them know just how thankful he was for their hard work and to let them say goodbye to their teammates — and the game of football — one last time.
“Football is a young persons game,” Whitworth said. “It’s just a little ceremony I do every year with the seniors. Most of them will never play [football] again, so I just make them put on their helmets one more time, look at each other and build a mental picture, mental memory, and say goodbye to the game.
“I just told them that I hope the struggle — the way athletics are — the hard work and the process was all worth it for them.”
With the win, Steamboat Springs finishes the season 2-8 (2-5 3A Western Slope League), while Glenwood Springs finishes the season 1-9 (1-6 3A WSL).
Bears stomp Summit, finish second in 3A WSL
For the second straight week against a league opponent, the Rifle Bears football team emerged victorious, beating the Summit Tigers, Friday, by a final score of 55-6.
With the win, the Bears finish off the regular season with a 9-1 (6-1 3A WSL) overall record, good for second place in the 3A WSL standing behind the undefeated Delta Panthers, who defeated the Palisade Bulldogs, 27-21, Friday, to lock up the 3A WSL title.
Now, the Bears await Sunday’s playoff seedings to determine where they’ll play in the first round of the CHSAA state playoffs.
At 9-1 and second overall in the 3A WSL standings, there’s a good chance that the Bears will be hosting a first round state playoff game at Bears Stadium.
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Needing a win to remain in 3A state playoff contention, Moffat County had to get past the visiting Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale Tuesday night.