The defense delivers in crunch time |

The defense delivers in crunch time

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Palisade bent Glenwood Springs’ defense all day on Sunday, reeling off 3- and 4-yard gains with regularity en route to a 229-yard day in the rushing department.

But when crunch time came calling, the Demons didn’t break.

Quite the contrary, actually.

Needing a stop in the game’s waning moments, Glenwood lineman Aaron Zancanella led a series of surges by the Demon front line to record a pair of game-changing sacks.

One came on a first-down play with the Bulldogs on the Demons’ 35-yard line. The 6-foot, 210-pounder teamed up with line mate Drew Walters on a second-down sack that pushed the Bulldogs 23 yards away from a first down with time winding down on their hopes of a win.

Zancanella knew if he hadn’t taken Appling down, his teammates would have had his back.

“I knew if I didn’t get to him, somebody else would,” the senior said.

Zancanella followed up by pressuring Appling on a fourth-down pass that sailed off target and iced the win against the state’s top team.

Watching the offense put points on the board in the clutch, Zancanella said it was the least he and the defense could do.

“We saw our offense killing themselves out there,” he said. “They were giving absolutely everything they had. We all came out fired up bad. We were so excited.”

Zancanella wasn’t the only Demon defender to turn in big plays on a fateful Saturday.

Defensive back Connor Riley pounced on a Palisade fumble in the third quarter to interrupt the Bulldogs’ momentum and linebacker Keenan Hartert hopped on a loose ball in the first quarter.

Walters and Dru Avery also had sacks in what was a busy day for the Demon defense.

So what drives defensive coordinator Neil Goluba’s crew?

“We just try to keep the kids disciplined,” the coach explained. “They just continue to do what they’re coached to do, to keep it coming. A 4-yard play isn’t a touchdown.

You’ve got to get up and do it again. Our goal is to keep them out of the end zone on every play.

“It’s a great group of kids to coach. They really do whatever they’re asked to.”

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