Demons football looks to rebound with start of league schedule on heels of two tough losses |

Demons football looks to rebound with start of league schedule on heels of two tough losses

A Glenwood Springs High School Demon runs the ball during a drill at practice outside of the school on Wednesday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The best place to look after a pair of tough football losses is straight ahead.

Coming off nonleague losses at home — 34-14 on Sept. 17 to intra-district rival Basalt, now ranked seventh among 2A teams in the state, and to the top-ranked 3A team in the state, 42-0, last week — the Glenwood Springs High School Demons open the all-important 3A Western Slope League schedule Saturday afternoon at Summit.

“Our goal was never to be undefeated,” fourth-year Glenwood head coach Patrick Engle said. “It’s to win the league championship and make the playoffs, and that’s still right in front of us.”

After playing in the one-off pandemic spring 2021 season, and winning the modified 3A West over Basalt and Rifle for the league title, the Demons got off to a strong start this fall with wins over Harrison (41-14), Rifle (13-7) and Conifer (35-27).

Then came the loss on homecoming night to the vastly improved Longhorns from just up the road, followed by a thrashing at the hands of arguably the best team in the state, regardless of classification, in the undefeated Roosevelt Roughriders.

“Not trying to polish it, but we lost to two pretty good football teams,” Engle said. “When you lose games like that, you tend to lose some confidence. But you just have to get back out there and play.”

Glenwood Springs Demon Joaquin Sandoval looks for an open teammate during a drill at practice outside of the school on Wednesday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The first shot at redemption comes on the road in Saturday’s league opener.

Sporting an identical 3-2 record to the Demons, the Tigers suffered a season-opening loss to another top 2A team, Delta, 27-0, and lost at 3A powerhouse Kennedy, 35-22, in week four. Their wins came against Skyview (56-0), Aspen (37-20) and Middle Park (41-7).

“We had a pretty good week of practice this week and worked a lot on just believing in ourselves,” Engle said. “We have five games in 30 days, and the kids just want to enjoy every moment.”

Three straight weeks of road games will take Glenwood to Steamboat Springs on Oct. 15 and Eagle Valley on Oct. 22 before what could be the biggest game of the season back on home on Oct. 29 against Palisade.

“Any conversation about the league has to start with Palisade,” Engle said of the Bulldogs, who’ve dominated the conference in recent years. “The league championship runs through Palisade, but we have to play every week and take every team seriously.”

The Demons have been without the services of senior running back Blake Nieslanik, who was injured early in the season. A deep offensive backfield for the Demons, led by senior Ray Rosenmerkel, junior Reece McMillan and the goal line prowess of sophomore quarterback Joaquin Sandoval, has carried the load in Glenwood’s run-heavy offense.

Game time for the Demons vs. Tigers Saturday is 1 p.m. at Summit High School.

In other action this weekend, the defending spring season state champion Rifle Bears (2-3) host 2A league rival, undefeated Moffat County (5-0) at 7 p.m. Friday night, in a game that could put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat for a league title.

Elsewhere, Coal Ridge (0-5) hosts Basalt (4-1) and Grand Valley (3-3) hosts Florence (6-0), both at 7 p.m. Friday, and Roaring Fork (1-4) travels to play Estes Park (1-4) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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