Past adversity breeds championship mettle for Glenwood Springs, Mountain View |

Past adversity breeds championship mettle for Glenwood Springs, Mountain View

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent
Chad Spangler |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Mountain View’s meteoric surge into the upper echelon of Class 3A football isn’t all that dissimilar to Glenwood Springs’ ascent to those same ranks.

On Saturday, when the 11-1 Mountain Lions face 12-0 Glenwood Springs in the state football semifinal, they’ll be looking to quadruple their combined win total from the previous two seasons.

That’s right.

Two torturous seasons bred just three wins in 20 tries for Mountain View, whose 27 seniors have scrapped mightily to reverse the tide in 2008.

“In spite of going through two seasons of that nature, they haven’t quit,” said Bart Mayes, the fourth-year head coach of the Mountain Lions. “They haven’t fallen by the wayside. They’ve kept at it, and that’s a tribute to their determination and no-quit attitude that’s gotten them real far.”

Glenwood’s recent history isn’t all that pretty, either.

Before last season’s 10-1 run, the Demons had been to the playoffs just once since 1991.

Mayes sees the similarities, and paid homage to Glenwood Springs head coach Rocky Whitworth for spurring the Demons’ turnaround.

“Coach Whitworth does a fantastic job with them,” he said. “They’re well-coached. You know, any time you’re able to go through those down times and then come back out of those, that’s a tribute to the whole organization, a tribute to the kids he coaches. It’s a pretty cool deal.”

But the Cinderella story will burn on for only one of the two resurgent squads come Saturday, and Mayes hopes it’s his. He knows what his Mountain Lions are going up against ” an offensive juggernaut that’s averaging more than 43 points a game.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us. No question,” Mayes conceded after taking in game film from each of the Demons’ playoff wins ” a 52-10 shelling of Roosevelt and 50-39 outgunning of Berthoud. “Glenwood is every bit as good as everybody says.

Offensively, it’ll be extremely difficult to stop them. And a lot of people aren’t talking about them defensively, but they’re salty defensively as well.”

The numbers back up Mayes’ compliment.

Prior to allowing 39 points against Berthoud, the most points Glenwood had surrendered in 2008 was the 26 it afforded Class 4A Montrose in Week Zero. The Demon defense is averaging 14.5 in the points-allowed department, a figure that reflects many second-half garbage points, with games well in hand by intermission.

Mountain View’s defense isn’t bad either. That side of the ball supplied the Mountain Lions with their only touchdown ” a blocked punt for a score ” against Pueblo County in last week’s 16-7 quarterfinal victory. They’re also giving up just a hair over 11 points a contest.

“Our defense has played pretty well all season long,” Mayes said. “Granted, we haven’t faced an offensive powerhouse like Glenwood Springs, but we’ve been fairly solid week in and week out.”

On offense, Mountain View brandishes a big line that paves the way for a smash-mouth attack not unlike that of Palisade’s.

“They mostly run,” Glenwood Springs wide receiver/defensive back Kevin Screen said. “They do have a good passing game if they need it. They’re big.”

Three Mountain Lions ” Steve Ryan, Joey Hlushak, Matt Hlushak ” have rushed for 500 yards or more and, just as Screen said, the Mountain View passing game is capable of flourishing. Evidence: quarterback Logan Moore’s 1,207 passing yards and 15 touchdowns.

“They’re a very powerful football team,” Whitworth said of the Demons’ semifinal adversary. “You can tell they’re seasoned. They’ve been in big games this year. You can tell that, too. They play four quarters. You know, they’re a team similar to Palisade in its makeup.”

Bettors would be hard-pressed to assign a line for this game.

Roosevelt coach Ed Eastin said he’d want no part in predicting an outcome.

Eastin knows both Mountain View and Glenwood better than he’d like to. His Rough Riders lost to the Mountain Lions 48-6 in Tri-Valley League play and to the Demons 52-10 in the opening round of the playoffs.

“It’ll be a heck of a game,” the veteran coach forecasted. “I wish it were over here so I could watch. … I wouldn’t want to pick it. It’ll probably come down to that old, standard thing ” whoever makes the least mistakes, the least turnovers, who doesn’t do anything stupid in penalties, that’s who will probably win the game.”

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