EDWARDS (11/2/12) – Recovering from an 0-3 start, the Glenwood football team won three of its last four games, including a 41-7 finale at Battle Mountain, to finish at 5-5 for the second straight season.
“One month and we were out of it,” coach Rocky Whitworth said of the struggles against three of the state's top five teams at the season's outset. But Whitworth, who amassed a 33-7 record in the previous three playoff years, including the undefeated state championship in 2008, also predicted about the dozen seniors ending their high school football careers, “They'll have great memories and be friends forever — there's no other sport like it.”
One of those memories will include the special teams sizzle of Auston Tribble, who worked his touchdown-return magic for the fifth time this season. After running back three kickoffs the distance in the first five games, opponents stopped kicking the ball to the 5-10, 165-pound senior flash. So in the last two games, Tribble has returned punts for touchdowns: 49 yards against Cortez last week, and in the third quarter versus Battle Mountain, Tribble put on a shake-and-bake move near his own 40, broke free to the sideline and completed a 62-yard explosion, giving Glenwood a 34-7 lead with 6:42 left.
Another senior, defensive back Kody Fox, also capped his gridiron career in style, returning an interception for a touchdown for the second straight game, going 65 yards to give the Demons a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
The first two scores of the game, however, came from players who will be returning next year as Henry Hill ripped off a 54-yard touchdown less than two minutes after the opening kickoff, and after Derrick Chase sacked the Huskies quarterback on a fourth-down attempt at the Battle Mountain 41, he scored from the 23 just three plays later.
Then a familiar foe reared its head as the Demons committed six penalties in the second quarter, derailing their momentum and giving Battle Mountain, winless this season after reaching the playoffs last year, a chance in the game. They used nearly 8 minutes in a 76-yard scoring drive, concluded by Brian Claymon's 1-run run with 1:20 left in the half.
But, as Whitworth is fond of saying, Glenwood regained its “mojo” in the third quarter, taking advantage of an 11-yard Husky punt that went out of bounds at the 31. Travis Lundin, who will be looking for his third straight 1,000-yard passing season when he returns in 2013, connected with Tribble for the 50th time this year to open the drive, scrambled for 11 yards to the nine, then turned matters over to Hill, who scored his 16th touchdown from the two for a 27-7 lead with 8:18 left in the quarter.
The game's final score featured sophomore Kaden Weller, whose 56 yard touchdown dash was aided by a block from Chase with 3:13 to go in the period.
Hill's 97 yards in just six carries, gave him 1,055 for the season after he gained 1,007 as a sophomore last year. “We've got good skill players and both linebackers (Garrett Lowe and Justin Barham) coming back,” Whitworth said. But the offensive and defensive lines will definitely miss Logan Holmberg, Collin Page, Alberto Ramirez, Josh McKee and Luis Lepe. In addition to Tribble, the receiving corps will lose Grant Fegan and Caiden Sorensen (who also handled punting duties), but will return Cole Adams, Barham, and Chase Nieslanik. Garrett Lowe and Collin Langer will anchor next year's line.
The Demons finished 5-3 in the Western Slope League, tied with Eagle Valley for fourth, with undefeated Rifle, and Delta and Palisade, both 6-2, as the league's top playoff representatives. Rifle, which exited the playoffs last season in the second round, will likely be the number-one seed in the 3A post season and play a first-round game at home Saturday, Nov. 10.