Glenwood Demons roll to 41-14 win over Aspen in football opener
Grand Valley tops Ellicott, 48-0
Special to the Post Independent
The Glenwood Springs Demons and Aspen Skiers kicked off Colorado’s Season C spring football slate on Friday night at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood, and it was the Demons who rolled to an impressive 41-14 conference win.
With all six scheduled games for each team counting in the 3A West standings, Glenwood started its winning night by keeping the football on the ground, using the rushing legs of senior running back Garrett Dollahan and backfield mate junior Blake Nieslanik to grind up consistent yardage against the Aspen defensive front.
The only thing able to stop Glenwood early in the contest was untimely penalties that moved the Demons in the opposite way of the intended direction.
It was Dollahan who got the first score of the game for Glenwood on a 17-yard touchdown run with 4:58 remaining in the first quarter. The point-after attempt by senior Tyler Thomas was good, putting the Demons up 7-0.
With the Skiers going to the air often, but unable to mount a serious scoring threat against the Glenwood defense, the Demons jumped ahead 14-0 following a 10-yard touchdown burst by Nieslanik and the PAT by Thomas.
An Aspen fumble at the Glenwood 20-yard line near the end of the second quarter negated the only serious threat by the Skiers.
Several solid ground gains by Dollahan set the Demons up deep in Aspen territory and it was Nieslanik who finished off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run into the south end zone for a 21-0 Glenwood lead.
Running back Brody Porter bulled his way in for another rushing touchdown for Glenwood just before intermission to give the Demons a 27-0 lead.
Aspen’s defense finally got the visitors on the scoreboard early in the third quarter when Skier safety Nate Thomas picked off a deflected pass by Glenwood junior quarterback Evan Heyl and rambled untouched into the end zone. The Skier two-point attempt was stuffed by the Demons and the score stood at 27-6.
Heyl connected with senior receiver Wheatley Nieslanik for a short touchdown pass and the Demons were good on the two-point conversion for a large 35-6 lead.
Heyl added a second TD pass to his game resume, hitting junior tight end Sawyer McKenney for a score to give Glenwood a 41-6 margin.
Thomas, who provided the Skiers with the interception return, tossed a late touchdown pass for Aspen from the quarterback position for a consolation score that accounted for the game’s final tally on the night.
“Our kids have worked extremely hard the last 16 months, and what you saw tonight was the result of that effort,“ Demons head coach Pat Engle said. ”All the time and work together has bonded this group. I think the world of them and how they have prepared themselves for this season.”
In a solid opening night debut, Nieslanik and Dollahan both turned in 100-plus rushing yards for the potent Glenwood run game.
Glenwood and Aspen will both hit the road to continue play in the 3A WSL next Friday night with the Demons making the long trek to Cortez and the Skiers heading to Rifle to face the Bears, who were 49-0 winners over Coal Ridge Friday night.
Grand Valley wins opener
In the only other area home game Friday, the Grand Valley Cardinals shut out Ellicott in 2A West action, 48-0.
Junior running back Emilio Garcia rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns in the win, and sophomore Steven Hicks ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Hector Delacruz threw for another Cardinals touchdown.
On Saturday, the 2A Roaring Fork Rams opened their season with a 26-8 loss on the road facing the St. Mary’s Pirates. Games stats were not available.
Post Independent senior reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.
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The Coal Ridge boys soccer team kept its winning streak to open the spring season alive on Saturday with a 6-0 non-league win over visiting Grand Junction Central.