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Rams take upper hand in valley rivalry

G. Sean Kelly

Roaring Fork Valley high school football bragging rights will stick with the Rams for another year. In large part, thanks to the legs of running back James Leonard.

The season opener couldn’t have gone much better for Leonard.

The Roaring Fork High School junior running back broke off a 73-yard touchdown run on his second carry of the season, and the Rams held off a late rally from rival Glenwood Springs for a 20-12 victory Friday night at Stubler Memorial Field.

“James is a great kid and he’s only going to get better,” Rams coach Tory Jensen said.

Leonard rumbled for a game-high 156 yards in the contest, with two carries going for over 40 yards. The Rams defense was also exceptional early, holding Glenwood to just four first downs and not allowing the Demons over midfield in the first half.

The Glenwood offense did come alive late in the contest, as senior running back Brock Milhorn notched a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Demons couldn’t complete the rally.

“We have to create a sense of urgency at the beginning of the game,” said Glenwood head coach Craig Denney of his team falling behind 20-0 before finding the end zone.

The Class 2A Rams took advantage of a few big plays and a slow start by Class 3A Glenwood Springs as the contest had the makings of a rout early.

Leonard’s touchdown came on the first play of the Rams’ second offensive series of the game. The junior took a reverse to the left side for a 6-0 lead with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The Rams made Glenwood pay for a fumble early in the second quarter, converting the turnover into a 13-0 advantage. Junior receiver Max Green made a bobbling 4-yard catch on a crossing pattern thrown by junior quarterback Dan Markoya, capping the 40-yard, nine-play drive. Markoya and Green also hooked up for the drive’s key play three snaps earlier, a 29-yard gain to the 6-yard line on third-and-15.

Markoya, starting his first varsity contest, had a strong outing with a 42-yards passing, a touchdown pass and a 47-yard touchdown run.

“I was totally psyched,” Jensen said of Markoya’s performance. “He made some really good decisions.

“But those guys up front won the game,” added Jensen, referring to the offensive and defensive lines. “The hogs ruled and they deserve the credit.”

The second half saw a major momentum shift.

Save for Markoya’s touchdown run with 10:40 remaining in the game, the Demons defense kept the Rams out of scoring position and the offense began to get on track.

Milhorn keyed the attack with touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards in the fourth quarter. Milhorn finished the day with 64 yards rushing, most of which came in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore running back Adam Vincent set up Milhorn’s first touchdown with a 43-yard run to the 9-yard line. Milhorn capped the drive from the 1-yard line to cut the deficit to 20-6.

“(Milhorn) is a good, hard running back,” Denney said. “And Adam Vincent was running hard and making things happen.”

After a three-and-out Rams offensive series, Milhorn went to work again, accounting for 37 yards on the 43-yard drive. He completed the push with a 6-yard run to cut the deficit to 20-12 with 3:26 left in the game.

The Demon’s defense again forced the Rams into a three-and-out series, taking possession on the Rams’ 49-yard line with 2:45 remaining. Glenwood, however, couldn’t put anything together offensively and turned the ball over on downs.

“We didn’t play well in the first half,” Denney said. “It’s a matter of learning to play the whole game. If we came out and played in the first half it would have been a whole different ball game.”

Milhorn led the team rushing, while Vincent and quarterback Mike Hoban finished with 55 and 49 yards, respectively.

Roaring Fork 6 7 0 7-20

Glenwood Springs 0 0 0 12-12

First quarter

RF – James Leonard 73-yard run (kick failed), 1:31.

Second quarter

RF – Dan Markoya 4 pass to Max Green (Green kick), 7:10.

Fourth quarter

RF – Markoya 47 run (Green kick), 10:40.

GS – Brock Milhorn 1 run (run failed), 8:47.

GS – Milhorn 6 run (run failed), 3:26.


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