FRISCO (10/20/17) – If adversity reveals character, then the Glenwood Springs football team showed plenty in a 24-7 Western Slope League win at Summit Friday.
Hours before what was going to be a playoff-tinged, third-place WSL showdown game, the Demons found that their four previous wins, including last week’s league victory over Battle Mountain, had been forfeited due to the use of an ineligible player.
So how did the team respond? At first, understandably devastated, the Demons made mistakes on the field, in the form of what would turn out to be thirteen penalties for 111 yards, and yielding six rushing first downs in a 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive that put Summit ahead 7-0 on the first play of the second quarter. The seven yard TD pass from Jake Gillum to Vale Hildebrand was the first completed pass of the game.
It would also turn out to be the only score the Demon defense permitted as they discovered reserves of strength and determination, and also, on offense, a new featured running back. Senior John Jensen, who had taken his turn in the GSHS quarterback carousel, but only run the ball nine times in seven games, broke out for 104 yards on 20 carries for two touchdowns.
Jensen, along with Glenwood’s other two quarterbacks, played a hand in the Demons’ 13-play, 59-yard answering drive that consumed 6:37 of the second period. AJ Crowley’s one-yard plunge and Tyler Dietrich’s point-after kick knotted the score at seven with 5:18 left in the quarter.
Brody Steen, who had passed for a career-high 181 yards against Battle Mountain last week, came off the bench to complete 6-of-7 passes in the drive, and Jensen converted a fourth-down, fake punt by running for 14 yards and a first down. He added a 17-yard run that got the Demons to the 15 before a fumble and Steen’s only incompletion had them facing 4th-and-6 at the 11. Summit helped out by jumping offside twice to set up first and goal and Crowley’s touchdown.
The Tigers netted three first downs on consecutive plays in answer, but a fourth-down sweep pass attempt by Hildebrand was thwarted at the Demon 41. Steen moved the chains inside the Summit 20 on two passes to Juan Felan and one to Crowley, and Jensen did the rest. A 16-yard burst set up his two-yard TD with 26 seconds left in the half for a 14-7 lead. Zach Quint, who had saved the initial scoring possession by recovering Erwin Rodriguez’ fumble, then combined with Preston Goode for a sack of Gillum, bringing on intermission.
The Demon defense, with a sack by Lance Page and numberous big hits from leading tackler Jack Ries, completely shut down the Tigers in the third quarter, limiting them to five net yards and a single first down after Summit had picked up eleven in the first half.
Glenwood lost a fumble inside the Tigers 30 and suffered three costly offensive penalties, but Dietrich still added to the Demon lead with a 32-yard field goal at the 2:59 mark to increase the lead to 17-7.
Miguel Herrera, who had his streak of five straight games with a touchdown snapped, fumbled for a second time in Tiger territory early in the fourth. But Ries, Isaiah Gonzalez, Max Lemkau, and Jack Richards came up big on defense, halting two more fourth-down tries by Summit, the latter giving Glenwood the ball at the Tiger 36.
Crowley completed a 10-yard pass to Gavin Olson, but two holding penalties brought Steen back in at QB. Facing 3rd-and-12, he hit Crowley for a 17-yard gain to the 11. From there, Jensen spun out of several tackles to go the distance for the final touchdown with 3:03 to play.
After managing just 41 yards rushing last week, the effort at Summit was encouraging as Crowley added 36 yards on nine carries to Jensen’s career-high performance, Glenwood outgaining Summit, 165-to-94 on the ground. Steen finished 12-of-16 for 106 yards, with the Demon defense holding Gillum to 7-of-18, for 50 yards, and sacking him three times for a loss of 22. Felan and Rodriguez led the receivers with four catches each.
Because of the forfeits, Glenwood’s overall record is now 1-7, compared to what would have been 5-3, with all hope of a playoff berth gone, but the win now places the Demons in a 3-way WSL tie for third place with Summit (3-5, 1-2) and Battle Mountain (3-5, 1-2). First-place, co-leader Rifle (7-1, 3-0) comes to Glenwood next Friday before the Demons close the season at last-place Eagle Valley (0-8, 0-3) the following week.