Demons fall to Tigers
Looking to kick off the start of the 2015 season in grand style, the Glenwood Springs Demons turned in a frustrating performance for all parties involved in its season-opening 17-0 defeat at home to the Erie Tigers.
Locked in a defensive battle for much of the game, the bullish Tigers running game proved to be too powerful late for the Demons, which replaced seven defensive starters from last season’s 6-5 (5-2) squad.
“We’re a young team,” Glenwood Springs head coach Rocky Whitworth said. “But that shouldn’t be an excuse. We didn’t execute tonight, and that’s more on the coaches not having these kids prepared.”
Early on, the Demons defense looked well prepared — despite Whitworth’s take — to nullify the powerful Erie offense. After allowing a 31–yard run to Tigers quarterback Ruben Portillo on a busted play, the Demons defense held firm in the first half, allowing just a 20–yard field goal from Tobi Campbell following a 25–yard punt return by Noah Roper to set the Tigers up at the Demons’ 17–yard line.
Following a 13-yard run by Erie running back David Unruh on first down, the Demons defensive pushed the Tigers offense backwards before succumbing to Campbell’s field goal.
As the Demons defense held firm, the Glenwood Springs offense couldn’t quite get started. New starting quarterback, Jake Townsley, found success early and often on read-option runs up the middle, but he couldn’t get on the same page with his receiving corps, which struggled with drops for much of the night.
Despite the struggles throughout the night, the Demons offense had its best drive of the night early in the second quarter, putting together a 12-play drive that was aided by a running-into-the-kicker penalty on 4th and 4 from Glenwood Springs’ own 45-yard line.
After a new set of downs was awarded to the Demons, Tim Bathcelder scampered over the left side for a 15-yard gain, putting the Demons in the redzone for the first time in the game. Two plays later, Townsley rolled right and found a crossing Sonny Reynolds for a gain of three yards before taking a big shot from a Tigers defender. The hit caused the ball to pop free of Reynolds’ grasp before he hit the ground, resulting in the first turnover of the game for either team.
That would be the closest the Demons would come to scoring against a stout Tigers defense. Add in costly penalties, missed blocking assignments and wrong routes run and it all added up to a frustrating night for the Demons offensively.
“I think a lot of it [the struggles offensively] had to do with a bunch of young, new players having to step up,” Bathcelder, who finished with 32 yards on nine carries in the loss, said. “It’s just a new thing for a lot of people, I guess.”
Townsley finished 9-for-19 through the air for 50 yards in the loss to the Tigers and added a team-leading 63 yards rushing on13 carries, including runs of 13 and 17 yards in the first half.
“I made a lot of mistakes on my own [tonight],” Townsley said post-game looking battered and bruised after a tough game. “We just have to do a better job of executing our plays, but we’ll work on it this next week. Everyone makes mistakes, but we’ll get better.”
As for the running game, Townsley had the best seat in the house watching Bathcelder and senior running back Matt Osier combine for 48 yards on 14 carries to go along with his 63 yards.
“I was really pleased with the running game overall,” Townsley said. “Tim had some good runs, Matt had some good runs. That’s our primary offense. It really went well although we didn’t score.”
Still trailing 3-0 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter thanks to an impressive defensive performance up to that point, the Demons defense broke just before the horn sounded to end the third quarter.
Due to a bad snap from Erie’s center to Portillo, Tigers running back Adam Loeffler came up with the ball on a broken play and busted out of a few tackles in the open field on his way to a 41-yard backbreaking touchdown to put the Tigers up 10-0 with one quarter to go.
Just a few minutes later following another lengthy punt return by Roper, Tigers running back Wes Brow broke multiple tackles along the right sideline before finding paydirt from 21 yards out to give Erie the deciding 17-0 victory.
Although the Demons allowed 247 rushing yards on 35 carries (7.0 yards-per-carry), Whitworth was pleased with his defense’s showing to start the year, especially against a power running team like Erie.
“I thought the defense played well for the most part,” Whitworth said. “They’re a strong team and you saw that tonight, but we hung in there and played well defensively.”
Glenwood Springs (0-1) travels to Conifer (1-0) next Friday. The Lobos defeated Frederick 3-0 in Week One.
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