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Glenwood Springs enters season with a new attitude

G. Sean Kelly

Glenwood Springs head coach Craig Denney believes his team has a new attitude this year. More importantly, it’s a winning attitude.

Thanks to strong junior varsity and freshman team performances in recent years, the Demon players enter the 2002 season expecting to win, rather than hoping to win.

“We’ve finally got the players who won on the JV and freshman levels up to the varsity level,” said Denney. “It’s that whole attitude – `we’ve got to win.’ Because they’ve won before they expect to win now and that makes a big difference for the coaching staff.”

Denney also won’t be forced to put a sophomore player in his starting lineup this season, something that didn’t happen his first four years coaching the Demons.

The Demons finished last season 2-5 (2-7 overall) in the Western Slope 3A Conference. Denney, however, believes, with the Demons’ experience and talent, Glenwood should be able to make a run into the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

“We’ve got the players who can get it done,” Denney said. “I’m hoping this year that we’ve got a shot. We’ve just got to play good solid football.”

Solid is the key. Denney opts for a physical, grind-it-out game rather than a high-flying, high-risk offense.

And, as with any offense that picks up most of its yardage on the ground – Glenwood runs the double-wing – the play of the offensive line will be key for the Demons this season.

“The offensive line is very solid,” Denney said. “The players understand what we’re trying to do offensively and they know that we’re not going to bust huge plays – it’s not finesse that does it.”

The interior O-line features plenty of experience with three seniors and two juniors. Seniors Jeremy Ureche and Mike Triebel anchor the line at each of the guard positions, and fellow senior Connor Austin-Martin is a solid tackle at 6-foot-2, 260 pounds.

“(Ureche) is kind of one of the sparkplugs that make things work,” Denney said. “Triebel is a real strong kid who’s been in the weightroom all year. He’s very technically sound.”

Senior Chase Warner suits up as the team’s fullback and, at 240 pounds, is “just a physical type of player, dominating,” according to Denney.

Junior Mike Hoban replaces Mike Bolitho in the quarterback position, and, while not big in stature (5-8, 160 pounds), he is quick and understands his role in the offense as someone who doesn’t have to break the big play.

Senior Brock Millhorn (6-0, 195) is the power runner in a trio of backs. When the Demons need more speed, juniors John Suazo (5-11, 170) and Andrew Katers (5-10, 165) will get the carries.

“Brock is one of those kids who is big enough to get some yardage after contact, and the other two guys are more shifty,” Denney said. “We should be real solid.”

In the Demons’ 4-3 defense, the line again should be solid, but the real strength of the team may be at linebacker.

Ureche has good speed at strong-side linebacker and can be a punishing tackler. He also calls many of the defensive plays on the field. Joining Ureche in the linebacker corps is Warner, who is a physical presence on the defensive side of the ball as well as the offensive side.

The Demons’ Achilles’ heal may be its secondary.

“The front seven defensively is going to be really strong,” Denney said. “The secondary is all juniors, but we lost two starting corners and our free safety.”

That secondary is untested as yet, but should be challenged in the season opener Friday. The Demons play host to upvalley rival Roaring Fork – ranked fifth in the Denver Post/9News preseason poll for 2A teams – at 7 p.m. at Stubler Memorial Field.


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