Demons tree Mountain Lions |

Demons tree Mountain Lions

Jeff Caspersenjcaspersen@postindependent.comPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent
Chad Spangler |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado The wind was whipping and the sun had dropped beneath the mountains on a late November Saturday in Colorado. Not an ideal time for a Gatorade dousing.But Glenwood Springs head coach Rocky Whitworth, admittedly a little cold, didnt mind one bit.Thats because the dousing came with good reason. His football Demons had just punched their ticket to the Class 3A state title game with a 47-14 semifinal rout of visiting Mountain View.It felt great, the veteran coach told a pair of fans offering post-game congratulations.Whitworths Demons (13-0) secured their first state title game appearance since 1980 and the right to douse their coach by showing Mountain View little mercy.Glenwood took a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, went up 24-6 by halftime time and then responded to a dose of third-quarter adversity by putting up 23 unanswered points.Behind all that were some eye-popping offensive statistics.Senior quarterback Dakota Stonehouse tossed for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-17 passing while running for 62 and two scores. Senior running back Michael Hudson legged out 56 yards and a score on the ground and caught three passes for 60 yards and a TD. And, of course, there was senior receiver Kevin Screen, who hauled in a team-high five receptions for 143 yards in the absence of fellow senior wideout Connor Riley, whos out for the playoffs with a broken foot.On the defensive side, sophomore linebacker Nick Ciani came up with easily the biggest play of his young high school career, intercepting a third-quarter pass by Mountain View quarterback Logan Moore and returning it 22 yards for a TD that all but put the game away.I read the pass and the guards didnt come at me, Ciani said. I stepped back and caught it. It was amazing. I just did it for my teammates.Ciani and his teammates were in no way interested in showing the Mountain Lions mercy, particularly after the visitors Joey Hlushak scored from 15 yards out on his teams opening drive in the second half. The play capped an 80-yard scoring drive that sliced Glenwoods lead to 10 at 24-14.When they went down and scored that got us fired up, Stonehouse said. We needed to get that momentum back.Stonehouse and the Demons did all that and more, responding with an eight-play, 65-yard TD drive of their own. Hudson provided the capper, taking an option pitch into the end zone from 6 yards out. It was a march that senior receiver Bennett Nicola kept alive with a 12-yard catch on third-and-10 from Glenwoods own 35-yard line.One play later, Ciani delivered the defensive score that made it 38-14 with 5 minutes and 29 seconds to go in the third. The sequence killed any chance of a Mountain View comeback and showcased the Demons steely resolve.The game could have unraveled right there and been very close, Whitworth said of the Mountain Lions scoring drive. Then for Nick to go and get the defensive interception. The swing was enormous.A safety and another TD later and the Demons were officially bound for next weeks state championship at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. There, itll be the No. 1-seeded Demons against No. 2 Fort Morgan, which defeated DEvelyn in the days other semifinal. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.Theyre just so powerful, Whitworth said of next weeks opponent. They have some great players, I know. Theyre still undefeated, same as us. Were different in ways but, I mean, theyll obviously be the most formidable foe well see.Glenwood Springs last won a state championship in 1980 when it beat Fountain Fort Carson 21-6 to take the Class 2A crown.While Glenwood celebrated, Mountain View watched its season conclude at 11-2, a mark that reflected quite the turnaround for a Mountain Lion team that had won just three games combined the past two seasons. We were definitely the underdogs out of it, said Mountain View running back Steve Ryan, who finished with 121 rushing yards and a TD. We fought all the way to get here.Added Mountain Lions head coach Bart Mayes: I cant fault our kids. They played their butts off but Glenwood was just the better team today.

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