Demons trounce Sailors behind big nights from Gair, Herrera
A one-hour lightning delay pushed back the start of Friday’s 4A Western Slope League matchup between the Glenwood Springs Demons and the Steamboat Springs Sailors at Stubler Memorial Field, but the weather couldn’t stop the Demons’ attack in a 34-0 win, improving Glenwood to a perfect 3-0 on the young season.
In wet, windy conditions in a steady downpour, the Demons turned to their rushing attack, rushing for 322 yard and five touchdowns on 48 carries in the shutout win. Outside of a strong rushing attack, the Demons’ defense stood tall once again, holding the Sailors to just 20 total yards of offense, forcing three fumbles and intercepting one pass on the night.
On the ground, junior Luke Gair rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns, while junior Miguel Herrera added 109 yards and two scores on just five carries. Junior Gavin Olson chipped in with 43 yards on six carries, while senior quarterback AJ Crowley rushed for 60 yards on six carries.
“We definitely took a big step up from last week with the rushing game,” Gair said following the break-out game. “We’re improving offensively as much as we can, and the offensive line keeps taking that next step. We’re on the right track up front to becoming a great offensive line, and tonight that showed in tough conditions. They muscled through it and got the job done, making it a lot easier for us as running backs to get the job done.”
Following the weather delay, the Demons came out of the locker room charged up for the 8 p.m. kickoff, marching 60 yards in five plays as Gair plunged in from one-yard out to give the Demons a 7-0 lead just one minute, 15 seconds into the game. On the opening drive, Crowley had the biggest run of the drive, keeping the ball on an option run for 24 yards to put the Demons into scoring position.
Holding a 7-0 lead, the vaunted Demon defense came onto the slick field and forced the Sailors to punt the ball back to the red-hot Glenwood offense.
Glenwood’s second drive didn’t go as planned as the Demons went three-and-out, giving the ball right back to the Sailors at the Steamboat 30-yard line.
Three plays later, Gair, junior Jack Richards and sophomore Kelton McPherson all met at the Steamboat quarterback for a sack, forcing the Sailors to punt the ball away for a second time.
Following the Steamboat punt, Glenwood took over at midfield and marched 50 yards in seven plays before Herrera took an option pitch from Crowley towards the right side of the line before cutting back across the grain, outrunning the Steamboat defense to the left pylon for a 29-yard score. The extra point missed in poor weather, giving Glenwood a 13-0 lead just 12 seconds into the second quarter.
Steamboat looked to get something going offensively down 13-0 as junior quarterback Drew Bowers looked deep down the right sideline for Canon Reece. The pass fell incomplete, but Steamboat drew a pass interference penalty on Glenwood, pushing the ball past midfield for the Sailors. A few plays later though, Steamboat punted the ball back to Glenwood, giving the Demons a chance to put the game away before half.
On the second play of the drive, Gair took a zone-read 67 yards untouched down the left sideline to make it 19-0 following a failed 2-point try midway through the second quarter, capping off a 91-yard drive.
A quick three-and-out by Steamboat and a good punt gave Glenwood the ball back deep in their own territory, Glenwood went to work again offensively looking to put the game way.
A quick screen to Gair from Crowley netted 24 yards before a jet sweep by junior Gavin Olson added 20 more yards, putting Glenwood in the red zone. Crowley then followed with a 15-yard scramble to put the ball at the five-yard line with 30 seconds left in the half, but Glenwood couldn’t punch the ball across the goal line, leading to a blocked field goal attempt to send the two teams into the half with the Demons holding a 19-0 lead.
Coming out for the second half with rain still falling, the Demon defense took over in the third quarter, holding Steamboat to -1 yards of offensive, while senior cornerback Luis Mariano picked off Bowers in the quarter.
Glenwood wasn’t able to find the end zone in the third quarter, but Gair would find pay dirt on the first play of the fourth quarter, diving in from 21 yards out to make it 25-0 Glenwood, before the junior added the 2-point conversion to make it 27-0, jump-starting the rout.
Herrera capped off the scoring for the Demons in the fourth quarter as quarterback John Jensen took a low snap and somehow got the handoff to Herrera, who shook off a tackler and raced 56 yards to the end zone, stiff-arming a Steamboat defender to the ground at the end of the run, pushing the junior of 100 yards on the night on just his fifth carry.
With the win, Glenwood now sits at 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2008, in which they went 14-0 and won the state championship. The Demons will hit the road next week for a matchup at Harrison at 7 p.m.