Staying in the present pays off for Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
AURORA, Colorado ” Stay in the present.
It’s the official mantra of Glenwood Springs football, one that’s served the Demons mighty well in 2008. So well they’re a day away from playing for their place in Colorado high school football history.
And a day away from there being no more present to stay in. The football present, anyway.
It’s a strange feeling, says Demon senior running back Michael Hudson.
“Yeah, we’re done no matter what,” he said. “We’re definitely focused. We’ll be ready to play.”
Staying in the present is about focusing on the week at hand, an approach hammered home throughout the season by Glenwood’s veteran head coach, Rocky Whitworth.
It came about, in part, in response to last year’s first-round playoff loss to Sterling.
“We had gotten ahead of ourselves,” Hudson said, referencing the 28-27 overtime defeat. “We all felt pretty good about the playoffs, and it all came to an abrupt end. It’s all part of the same thing, I guess. We’ve made sure we’re focused on the single game that week ” not the next week so it wouldn’t happen again.”
So far, so good.
On Saturday, the present the Demons will be focused on is Fort Morgan.
Like Glenwood, Fort Morgan is a powerhouse. Both teams are 13-0. The Demons hold the top seed in the 16-team Class 3A playoff bracket, and the Mustangs the second seed.
Unlike the Demons, the Mustangs’ offensive attack centers on the run.
A glance at the Fort Morgan stats quickly reveals the focus of that attack ” 5-foot-7-inch, 186-pound running back Chris Cobbley.
The senior has ground out 1,889 yards and 19 touchdowns on 278 carries through 13 games, figures that include last week’s 211-yard, three-TD effort in a 42-24 semifinal win over D’Evelyn.
“He’s a great runner,” Glenwood senior linebacker Keenan Hartert said. “He’s really smart about where he chooses his hole, and he won’t go down unless you tackle him right.”
Cobbley’s complemented by junior quarterback Garrett Pape, who’s thrown more more than 1,100 yards and completed 6 of 6 passes for 123 yards against D’Evelyn.
On defense, senior linebacker Keef Montel has frustrated many an opposing offense in helping Fort Morgan reach its first state final since 2001.
“(Fort Morgan) is definitely the strongest, the best football team we’ve seen. On film, they’re a very dominant team,” Whitworth said.
Mustangs head coach Harrison Chisum holds Glenwood Springs in equally high regard.
“They’re amazing,” the second-year head coach lauded. “They’re a very good football team. There’s a reason why they’re 13-0. They’re very well-rounded. Dakota (Stonehouse) is an outstanding quarterback who can run and throw. They have a great tailback (Hudson), a great offensive line and receivers who run great routes and catch the ball.”
Sounds like the fans who make the trip to Legacy Stadium in Aurora will witness quite the game.
But if you ask the Demons, it’ll just be another game. It just happens to be the one they’re focusing on this week.
“It’s weird. It feels like any other game,” said senior defensive end Aaron Zancanella. “I guess it really hasn’t sunk in. It probably won’t sink in until after the game.”
After Saturday, Zancanella and his teammates are hoping they’ll have a triumphant past to focus on.
“Now is the last game of the year,” Whitworth said. “It’s the last game in a lifetime for a lot of these guys. It’s a very special moment in time.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.