GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9/30/11) – Halfway through a 34-21 loss to Battle Mountain that essentially eliminated Glenwood Springs from the 3A football playoffs, the future became now. Trailing 27-0 after two quarters, Travis Lundin replaced senior Jon Forristall at quarterback, giving the Demons an all-sophomore backfield, which also includes running backs Henry Hill and Garrett Lowe.
Forristall, who had completed 61% of his passes for 527 yards in three previous games, really wasn\'t given much of a first-half opportunity, attempting just three passes in the first quarter and two in the second period, completing one for 20 yards. But with the Huskies\' Reeve Sanders and Zach Guida each scoring two touchdowns, and Hill unable to get untracked — 32 yards on 14 carries, which included three fumbles, one squelching a Demon drive at the 22 when the score was just 7-0 in the first quarter — the change was made when the game, and playoffs, seemed out of reach.
Rifle, 2-0 in the Western Slope (5-0 overall), edged Battle Mountain (1-1, 4-1) 22-21 in the league opener last Friday, so with Palisade (1-0, 4-0) also looking strong, the Huskies-Demons (0-2, 1-4) winner — though only two weeks into WSL play — would have the inside track on the final post-season spot.
Early it appeared to be no contest. On the Huskies\' second possession Sanders took a pitch 51 yards for a touchdown. With Forrestall completing a 20 yard pass to Austin Tribble to the Battle Mountain 33 and Hill picking up another first on the ground, Glenwood appeared poised to even the score before Hill fumbled at the 21. One play later, Guida took a counter play 79 yards for a 14-0 lead with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The Huskies put together an 8-play, 56-yard touchdown drive at the outset of the second period, and used a 45-yard fake punt, run by Sanders on 4th-and-9 from their own 30 as the key play in an 85-yard scoring drive to go up 27-0 with 4:04 left in the half. Michael Mills interception and 42 yard return provided the only highlight for Glenwood, which featured four punts (averaging just 25 yards) and a turnover in its five offensive possessions.
So the 5-10, 150-pound Lundin, who made a relief appearance in the Fruita blowout without attempting a pass, took over to start the second half. He completed his first pass and Hill seemed to regain his confidence as the Demons put together three first downs to the Husky 39 before an interception killed the drive.
But the Demon defense, which yielded 308 yards on the ground in the first half, seemed to be energized by the awakened offense and forced a 3-and-out. Mills returned Sanders\' punt 19 yards to the 29 and Lundin completed a short pass to Hill, then laid a perfectly timed strike over Grant Fegan\'s shoulder for 35 yards to the Husky 31. Sacked for a an 8-yard loss, Lundin launched a 4th-down heave which Hill caught over his head, falling on his back for a first down at the 7. To the delight of the Homecoming crowd, Lundin got the Demons\' on the board with a one-yard plunge with 2:03 left in the quarter.
After another Husky punt, Lundin, who completed 6-of-10 passes for 68 yards in the third quarter, picked up right where he left off, connecting with Avery for 16 and Hill for 7 before the sophomore running back converted a 4th-and-one at the 49 to keep the drive alive. A personal foul by Battle Mountain moved the ball to the 27, where Lundin found Tribble for 15 and another firstdown. Mills and Lundin combined for their first career touchdown pass reception from the 9, then Lundin hit Lowe for the two-point conversion, making things interesting at 27-14 with 7:03 left in the game.
A penalty against Glenwood prior to an onside kick attempt resulted in Battle Mountain getting the ball at the Demon 38, and from the 34 Sanders broke several tackles on the way to his third TD, basically sealing the outcome, 34-14 with 5:19 to play.
But Lundin and the Demons weren\'t finished giving their fans something to cheer about, driving 65 yards in 6 plays that concluded with Mills juking one defender to the ground, then slanting toward the corner of the end zone and outrunning the rest of the pursuit for a 47 yard touchdown. The subsequent onside attempt was also recovered by the Huskies.
In the second half, aside from Sanders\' 34-yard touchdown, Battle Mountain was limited to 34 yards on 18 rushing attempts, while Lundin passed for 174 yards, completing 14-of-22 passes. Hill, after struggling for the first half, finished with 97 yards on 26 carries. Mills caught 4 passes for 70 yards and two TDs. Tribble and Hill also each had 4 receptions.
Sanders finished with 233 yards and 3 touchdowns in 19 carries. Guida had 118 yards in 14 attempts for two scores. All League senior quarterback Jake Engle was just 2-for-7 for 10 yards and did not attempt a pass in the second half.
The second half turnaround, while not enough to win the game and give Glenwood much hope for the playoffs this year, still showed character and hope for the future, which may be arriving sooner than expected.