Glenwood set to battle Steamboat |

Glenwood set to battle Steamboat

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Glenwood Springs controls its own football destiny as it prepares for a visit from Steamboat Springs tonight.

Beat the Sailors and the Demons are the 3A Western Slope League champs for a third straight year.

Lose and, well, the Demons will still make the playoffs. But you better believe a three-peat is high on Glenwood’s wish list.

The path to a league title will be tough to traverse.

Led by University of California-bound quarterback Austin Hinder, who’s tossed for 1,391 yards and 19 touchdowns, the Sailors are 9-0, are averaging more than 40 points a game and are ranked second in Class 3A in the latest Denver Post/9 News poll.

Steamboat has plenty in the way of weapons besides Hinder, like running back Joe Dover, who’s racked up 953 rushing yards and 21 total TDs.

And then there’s a stingy Steamboat defense that’s giving up just 15 points a game.

Glenwood isn’t shy on talent, either. Despite losing some 20 seniors from last year’s state championship team, the Demons are 6-3 and have won six of their last seven. They’re 6-1 in league.

A Glenwood win would vault it ahead of the Sailors in the league standings. The Demons would win league via a head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Demons have won the last two meetings between the schools, blasting Steamboat, 47-0, last year, and slipping past the Sailors, 25-20, in 2007.

If Glenwood were to lose tonight, it’d likely drop into a three-way tie for second with Delta and Palisade.

Because Glenwood defeated Delta, Delta defeated Palisade and Palisade defeated Glenwood, the tiebreaker would be point differential in games between the tied teams. That would give Glenwood second place, Delta third and Palisade fourth.

The top three teams in the 3A WSL qualify for the postseason automatically. The fourth-place team can only claim playoff berths via wild-card points, which are accumulated through a points system that weighs wins and losses by the record and classification of opponents.

The wild and cluttered 3A WSL playoff picture will grow much clearer by tonight’s end. The high-stakes game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Stubler Memorial Field.

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Rich Stubler, who owns a lengthy and impressive coaching resume, is headed home.

Thirty-eight years after showing up at Roaring Fork High School as an ambitious, bright-eyed young coach, Stubler is returning to Carbondale.

Stubler, in his first year as head coach at Cedaredge High School, will bring his Bruins to town to battle his old team.

Since assisting former Roaring Fork head coach Bill Hanks from 1971-73, Stubler’s made the rounds through the collegiate and professional coaching ranks. His most recent gig prior to taking over at Cedaredge was a 10-game stint as head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 2008. He was dismissed midway through the season after guiding the Argonauts to a 4-6 record.

Stubler’s Roaring Fork Valley roots run deep.

The Stubler name will forever be linked to Glenwood Springs through Rich’s father, Nick, who crafted a legacy as Glenwood Springs High School’s football coach and athletic director. The school’s football/soccer field – Stubler Memorial Field – bears the family surname as a tribute to the elder Stubler, who died more than 20 years ago.

Rich graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 1967.

OLATHE, Colorado – Grand Valley looks to bolster its case for a wild-card playoff berth with tonight’s trip to Olathe. They’ll need some help, though.

Tied for third place with Gunnison at 4-2 in 2A Western Slope League play, the Cardinals need to defeat Olathe, the defending state champion. The Cards also need Basalt to beat Gunnison tonight, as the Cowboys edged Grand Valley, 14-13, back on Sept. 25 to claim the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Wild-card playoff berths can only be awarded to teams finishing third in their conference (the top two teams in each 2A conference are awarded automatic playoff spots). Since Gunnison owns the tiebreaker, that means Grand Valley has to finish with a better league record to be eligible for the postseason.

“We’ve really got to win,” Cardinals coach Mike Johnson said. “Olathe’s obviously very good. We’ll go and give ’em all we can.”

Olathe enters the final week of the regular season with a 9-0 record. The Pirates are ranked second in the latest Denver Post/9 News 2A poll.

RIFLE – Rifle can carry momentum into 2010 with a win over visiting Eagle Valley tonight.

The 3-6 Bears were topped by Palisade at Mesa State College’s Stocker Stadium last Thursday.

Eagle Valley enters the final week of the regular season with a 1-8 record. The Devils’ only win came against Montezuma-Cortez back on Oct. 23. Last week, they lost to nearby rival Battle Mountain, 14-7.

ASPEN, Colorado – Coal Ridge looks to finish out its season on a high note with a trip to Aspen tonight.

The Titans enter the week on the heels of a 27-19 loss at Roaring Fork last Friday, while the Skiers stomped host Gunnison, 41-0.

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