GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9/21/12) — For three weeks the potent potion had been bubbling and building, and finally, beginning with a 95-yard opening kickoff return by Auston Tribble, and continuing throughout a 55-12 lambasting of the Steamboat Sailors, the frustration of being shackled by the state’s top three 3A football teams came bursting forth from an 0-3 Glenwood Springs team Friday.
“Our confidence level was minimal,” coach Rocky Whitworth said before the game, pointing to a 20-play drive “against as good a defense as we’ll see, yet we didn’t score” in the 28-0 loss to the top-ranked Rifle Bears last weekend. In the first two games of the season, the Demons were outscored 75-26. No such problem this week as just about everyone got into the end zone against the depleted Sailors.
Henry Hill returned to action last week against the Bears and did well, but this was what the coaching staff was hoping for, after his 1,000 yard effort in 2011: rushing for 175 yards, seven first downs, and three touchdowns in just over a half. Travis Lundin, equally promising after taking over the reigns midway through last season, threw his first touchdown pass of 2012, a 25 yard hook-up with Tribble, and completed 8-of-13 for 105 yards before yielding to sophomore back-up Evrett Marr, who also got into the end zone in his varsity debut, knifing through the Sailors for a 5-yard TD to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Derrick Chase, who filled in for Hill against Conifer and Palisade, also scored a touchdown on a one yard run in the second quarter that punctuated a 22-0 scoring run after Steamboat’s Christian Ramirez and Joe Deline had given the Sailors a 9-6 lead with 3:47 to play in the first period.
Deline, the freshman brother of Ben Deline, now kicking for CSU, boomed a 41-yard field goal on the Sailors’ first possession after Tribble’s second return of a kickoff for a touchdown this season (he went 100 yards against Conifer). Ramirez, a senior, then took advantage of a Lundin fumble that halted a Demon drive after three first downs, completing a 66 yard pass to Penn Lukens and giving Steamboat the lead with a 5-yard quarterback draw. Deline’s PAT was blocked, and Tribble and Hill answered by combining for all 94 yards (on the ground) of an eight-play scoring drive that gave Glenwood the lead for good, 12-9, with 1:16 remaining in the opening quarter. The first 30 yards came on Tribble’s kick return, followed by his 31-yard burst from the backfield. The senior captain, who leads the Demons in receiving, showed he can be a difference-maker running the ball too, rushing for 68 yards in 5 carries, including a 17 yard touchdown run. He didn’t completely abandon his receiving duties as he made a diving catch of a 33-yard pass from Lundin to start that 65-yard scoring drive to open the second quarter, and had four catches for 64 yards in the game.
All-together Tribble amassed 271 all-purpose yards (running, receiving, returning punts and kicks) and scored three touchdowns. The Demons, after being held under 100 yards rushing in their first three losses, had 320 yards in 49 carries, good for six touchdowns. Much of the credit for that should go to a revamped (again) offensive line, starting with center Collin Page (moving inside from his right tackle spot), Logan Holmberg and Alberto Ramirez on the left side and Garrett Lowe, who moved from running back to the line against Palisade, and new starter, Collin Langer at right guard.
The Sailors were handicapped when Ramirez, who had completed 5-of-9 passes for 121 yards, left the game after the Sailors’ first possession in the second quarter. His replacements completed just one pass the rest of the game, while the rushing game accounted for a negative 16 yards in the second half and lost four fumbles.
The reprieve from top-ranked opponents is short-lived as the Demons travel to always dangerous Delta (3-1), undefeated in league play with a 25-21 win over Eagle Valley and a 21-14 win at Moffat County Friday. It’s early to be talking playoffs, but if Glenwood (1-3, 1-2) has hopes of qualifying for one of the Western Slope League’s three spots, a win on the Panthers’ home turf would give them a great start in that direction.