Roosevelt tops Glenwood, 34-8, in non-league battle
Two special teams gaffes by the Glenwood Springs Demons led to 13 points for the Roosevelt Roughriders, leading the Johnstown school to a complete 34-8 win Friday night in Carbondale in the final non-league game of the season for both teams.
Roughriders senior return man JT Baughman raced 90 yards untouched for the first touchdown of the game on the opening kickoff, before a high snap over the head of Glenwood senior punter Patrick Young lead to another touchdown from Roosevelt senior Diego Leal from three yards out. In the end, the special teams gaffed proved to be part of the difference in Glenwood’s four-score loss in a “home” game.
“We’re just not putting together a complete game,” Pat Engle, Glenwood’s second-year head coach said following the loss. “We can call it all we want right now, but we’re just not putting together a complete football game, and I take full responsibility for that. I take full responsibility for offense, defense and special teams. It’s on me.”
Despite the special teams gaffes that lead directly to 13 points, Glenwood fought hard against a tough Roosevelt team. Coming into Friday’s non-league matchup, Glenwood had the second-toughest non-league schedule in the state of Colorado at any level, finishing just behind Pueblo South High School. The opening kickoff return for the touchdown put the Demons in a hole, but the Demons had a chance to respond.
Unfortunately, on a 3rd and 12 scramble near midfield, sophomore quarterback Evan Heyl fumbled the football, giving the Roughriders possession with a short field.
Nine plays later, thanks to a key 4th and 3 rush for 20 yards by sophomore Cooper Walton, the Roughriders found the end zone to go up 13-0 ass senior quarter Braeden Saya found junior Josh Lawrence from 6 yards out with just 3:50 left in the first quarter.
Trailing by two scores, Glenwood’s offense went to work again, moving the ball to midfield as sophomore running back Blake Nieslanik rushed for a 15-yard gain off right tackle before Heyl found junior Wheatley Nieslanik for 7 yards and a first down on 3rd and 5. Glenwood’s drive stalled at midfield though, forcing a Young punt. Roosevelt came through and blocked the kick, taking over possession at the Glenwood 34.
Credit to the Glenwood defense though as the Demons held up and force a 3-and-out, with Roosevelt’s punt bouncing into the end zone for the touchback.
Attempting to mount a drive once again, the Demons moved near midfield with the football, but Glenwood turned the ball over on downs at its own 39-yard line as senior fullback Elliot Dwyer-Walz was stuffed on a 4th and 2 dive, giving Roosevelt possession again.
This time, Roosevelt took to the air as Saya found senior Shane Grimes for 15 yards and freshman Tucker Peterson for 11 yards before Baughman plunged in from 2 yards out to make it a 20-0 game with 6:10 left in the first half.
Down three scores now, Glenwood leaned on Heyl’s arm on the next possession as the sophomore found senior Sam Fitzwilliams for 6 yards, while senior Tucker Porter rushed for 6 yards off left tackle, moving the chains. That would be it on the drive for Glenwood though as the Demons punted the ball away again. This time, Young got off a terrific 47-yard punt that pinned Roosevelt deep, allowing Glenwood’s defense to go to work.
A big combined sack of Saya by senior Thorin Melby, Dwyer-Walz, and senior Spencer Cloud forced a Roosevelt punt back to Glenwood, but the Demons weren’t able to do anything with the football once again, calling on Young to punt the ball away.
Two plays later, Glenwood senior Dylan Albright, making up for a targeting penalty that gave Roosevelt one last Hail Mary shot at the end zone, picked off the pass on the final play of the first half in the end zone, sending the two teams into the locker room with Glenwood trailing 20-0.
Needing a spark for the second half, Engle challenged his Demon team in the locker room. That challenge was initially unanswered in the second half as Glenwood went 3-and-out, leading to the high snap over Young’s head, setting up Leal’s 3-yard touchdown.
Following another 3-and-out by Glenwood, Roosevelt made it 34-0 as Walton scored from 3 yards out, capping a 7-play, 64-yard drive.
That’s when Glenwood dug in and responded, answering Engle’s halftime challenge.
The Demons answered with a 15-play, 84-yard drive as Heyl found Wheatley Nieslanik for 22 yards and a first down, while Porter barreled over a Roosevelt defender for a gain of 12 yards and another first down on the ground. Blake Nieslanik then rushed for 15 yards before Porter rushed for 7 yards, leading to a 4-yard touchdown run from Dwyer-Walz with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter, getting Glenwood on the board. Albright then punched in the 2-point conversion, making it 34-8, which resulted in the final score.
“I thought our kids played really well in the second half, which is what I asked them to do,” Engle said. “It’s incredibly frustrating, but also gives me an incredible amount of optimism. I believe in what we do, and I believe we can move the football on anybody because we have a lot of great kids. It’s not pretty; it’s never pretty what we do, and it doesn’t have to be. I thought our running backs ran hard and our offensive line blocked well. They [Roosevelt] showed a great amount of respect to us by leaving their defense in and letting us work on improving there at the end.”
The loss drops Glenwood to 0-5 on the season. The Demons return to action next Friday in Gypsum as they take on the Eagle Valley Devils in the first game of 3A Western Slope League play this season.
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