Demons look to snap 6-game losing streak vs. Bears
The last time the Glenwood Demons defeated the Rifle Bears on the gridiron, the current senior class was in the process of adjusting to middle school as sixth-graders back in 2010 while Head Coach Rocky Whitworth was in his eighth season at the helm.
Now, the senior leaders of the Demons (4-4, 2-1 4A Western Slope League) — Jake Townsley, Easton Gaddis, Jesse Duplesys, Luke Patch and Ethan Mcgill, to name a few — look to snap the six-game losing streak to the Bears (7-1, 3-0) tonight in Rifle at Bears Stadium, which happens to be Senior Night for the Bears.
“It’s a huge game, especially as a senior, it’s my last rival game against Rifle,” Townsley said. “We haven’t beaten Rifle in the four years that I’ve been here, so it kind of being that last big game, it means a lot to us. We have to get the win. If I could win any game this season, it would be this one for sure.”
Last season was a rough one for the Demons, who finished 2-9 on the year due to a large number of injuries that decimated the depth chart for Glenwood, but 2016 has been a much better season so far as Glenwood has won three of its last four games by at least 18 points.
The way they’ve been playing the last month bodes well for Glenwood as it looks to avenge last season’s 55-6 loss to Rifle, which happened to be the largest margin of defeat for either side in the rivalry dating back to the 2008 matchup in which Glenwood topped Rifle 45-0 on the way to a state championship. This time around, Glenwood is looking to spoil Rifle’s shot at a possible league title while also looking to put themselves one step closer to a playoff berth for the first time since 2014.
“One of the main things we have to do is shut down their offense,” Patch said. “Their running game has had a ton of success all season long, so our defense is going to be key for us if we want to have a shot at winning. Our coaches have done a great job all week of preparing a defense for us to try and shut down their running game, so as long as everyone on defense does their job and we all play with some intensity and some heart, it’ll give us a shot.”
While the current Glenwood group of seniors has yet to experience a win over Rifle during their varsity careers, that’s all the current group of Rifle seniors knows is winning when it comes to the Glenwood-Rifle rivalry.
“It’s a pretty cool thing not to lose to Glenwood at all [to this point],” Rifle senior running back Blaine Vance said. “And because it’s our Senior Night, I want to make sure we go out on top with our best game of the year so far and show it all out on the field against Glenwood. I’m looking forward to playing with the guys one last time at home; I’m going to miss it a lot, so we want to play well.”
Despite the recent struggles of Glenwood in the rivalry, Rifle Head Coach Damon Wells said it doesn’t change the level of respect the Bears have for the Demons, nor the way that Rifle prepares for the game. A lot of that, according to Wells, has to do with the coaching staff in Glenwood.
“They understand the game so well,” Wells said. “They have the ability to take any group of kids and make them competitive. I don’t think it would be possible for us to have any more respect for their staff and their preparation. We think the world of them and their football minds.”
While the rivalry matchup has been hyped up for years, Wells was quick to point out that the rivalry has changed a bit in the last decade or so due to the creation of Coal Ridge High School smack dab in the middle of the two schools along Interstate 70.
“This game doesn’t have extra meaning for us because it’s Glenwood, it has more meaning for us because we’re 7-1 and have two games left,” Wells said. “That’s all that matters to us. If we were playing anyone in our league it would be the same for us. One thing that I think people don’t consider is it’s not Glenwood-Rifle back in the old days. When I say that, it’s because there’s a whole brand new high school [Coal Ridge] in between us. It’s just not the same because of that.”
Tonight’s rivalry matchup should be much closer this season as both teams appear relatively healthy late in the season. The added component of much being at stake for both sides should make tonight’s game a classic rivalry game between the two.
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.