MONTROSE (9/10/10) — Football fans expecting to see a heavyweight match between two top-ten programs featuring running, gunning senior quarterbacks, instead were treated to a baseball-like pitchers' duel between a freshman and sophomore where defense was king and the 4A Montrose Indians scored with 29 seconds to play for a 6-0 win over visiting 3A Glenwood.
Luke Jacob, who passed for 92 yards and rushed for 95 in Glenwood's 35-7 season opener against 2A Basalt, was held out of the game at Montrose for precautionary reasons after a concussion against the Longhorns. Senior lineman Blaze Barham also was out with a concussion – and his loss would prove even more costly to the offensive line. Junior Cam Avery, usually a wide receiver, began the game at quarterback for the Demons, who recovered a fumble at the Montrose 42 on the Indians opening possession.
Two illegal procedure penalties and a bobbled shotgun snap pushed Glenwood back over midfield and freshman Travis Lundin, whose brother Eric quarterbacked the 2005 Demon team, took over on the next possession. The offensive game plan understandably turned conservative, and Lundin attempted just one pass in the first half, an 8-yard roll out completion to Willie Pelland that set Glenwood up with 3rd-and-one near midfield — but a procedure penalty forced a busy Chad Montover to punt (six times for the game).
Drew Halsch, meanwhile, was meeting a stacked Montrose defense while carrying the ball on 20 of Glenwoods 22 first-half offensive plays for a respectable 69 yards. Montrose encountered quarterback troubles of its own when Alberto Ramirez sacked Nathan Robertson on a 3rd-and-7 from the Glenwood 27, halting an 11-play drive that began at the Indian 9.
Robertson, who was also knocked out of the game in last year's contest between the two teams (but ran for 115 yards and was 8-for-8 passing before his injury just before halftime in the Indians' 38-12 win), tried to return but left the game for good after Pelland recovered another Montrose fumble at the Glenwood 25.
The Demons controlled the ball for 17 of 22 second-quarter plays, but their sixth first-half procedure penalty on 3rd-and-two at midfield stalled the final possession of the half, leaving the score knotted at zero.
With Halsch again pounding into the line, Glenwood's opening drive after halftime showed promise until a holding penalty (again, near midfield) caused another punt. Montrose's Bryce Graber carried on eight straight plays for three first downs until their first offensive penalty resulted in a Nick Ciani sack on sophomore Drew Casebier's first pass attempt.
In the fourth quarter, Glenwood again got to midfield, 4th-and-one at the Montrose 48, when — you guessed it — another procedure penalty produced another Montover punt. The Indians resorted to a quick kick on third down after Montover sacked Casebier, giving the Demons the ball at their own 24 with 5:28 left in the game.
Lundin, gaining in poise and confidence, connected with Austin Tribble on back-to-back passes, the second a diving catch at the Montrose 40. Three runs by Halsch set up 4th-and-three, but following a time out by each team, his plunge up the middle was stopped for no gain and the Indians took over with 2:34 remaining.
Roland McLaren's halfback pass went off Johnathan Sierra's hands down the right sideline, but out of a spread formation, Casebier rolled right for a 14 yard gain. Chris Ayala's sack had Montrose facing a 3rd-and-17 at its own 40 with 1:20 to go and calling its final time out.
The Indians came out in the spread again, but this time Casebier dropped back to pass, stepped up and took off up the middle, breaking to the left sideline for a 35 yard gain, bringing the entire Indian bench rushing to celebrate at the Glenwood 25.
Gaber tried a couple of runs that netted nothing and then Sierra caught a touchdown pass with 29 seconds left on the clock for Casebier's only completion of the game. The point after kick was wide left, and after Avery bobbled, then recovered the kickoff, Glenwood needed to go 84 yards for a chance to upset the fourth-ranked and four-time defending Southwest League champs, which had scored 92 points in its first two victories.
Lundin started well, hitting Grant Fegan for 14 yards and Halsch for 14, then spiked the ball to stop the clock at the Demon 45-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. Another completion to Fegan moved three yards past midfield, but a sack and fumble on the games final play allowed Montrose to improve its record to 3-0. But this game was a triumph for the emerging Demon defense and a satisfying maturation for Lundin, who wound up 9 of 12 for 100 yards passing. Halsch followed up his 184-yard varsity debut by gaining 98 hard-fought yards on 30 carries.
Glenwood (1-1) plays another 4A school, Fruita Monument, for homecoming Friday, but the Wildcats are 0-2, having lost to Broomfield 26-14 and Cherokee Trail, 55-14.