GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9-3-10) — “Who was that (un)masked man?” some Glenwood fans might've wondered when a 32-yard screen pass to an unhelmeted Number 17 interrupted a slew of flags and offensive inconsistency to spark back-to-back third-quarter scores, carrying the Demons to a 35-7 season-opening win over Basalt Friday.
Even fans with programs couldn't know that senior Drew Halsch, making his varsity debut with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, had exchanged the Number 11 jersey he wore in the first half — because that one, Athletic Director Craig Denney told press box residents, would soon be retired to honor Cody Brickell, former outstanding wrestler and football team captain, who died in a tragic car accident shortly after his 2003 graduation from GSHS.
Glenwood held a 13-0 halftime lead over the 2A Longhorns, built on a 34-yard run by senior quarterback Luke Jacob that set up Halsch's two-yard TD with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter, a pair of field goals by senior JD Weeden after the offense sputtered, and an attacking defense that held Basalt to just three first downs and a net minus-two yards rushing.
The Glenwood offense still couldn't seem to get out of its own way after halftime when the new 3-4 defense again provided an opportunity as Grant Fegan returned his second interception of the game 26 yards to the Basalt 37. A 14-yard loss on a recovered fumble by Jacob and the team's 8th penalty of the game pushed the Demons back to their own 48. Facing 3rd-and-28, coach Rocky Whitworth, now in his seventh season at GSHS, called time out.
The play that emerged was a screen pass from Jacob to Halsch, in which the 5-8, 175-lb. running back, who earned the starting spot after a two-year hiatus in his football career, lost his helmet BEFORE making the catch. Looking like a golden-haired Adonis among the dark red and purple helmets, Halsch somehow evaded all tacklers, reaching the Longhorn 20 yard line.
The miscues weren't quite concluded, as a holding call on the next play backed the Demons up another ten yards, but a pair of runs by Jacob (who finished with 95 yards on 12 carries) gave Glenwood a first-and-goal at the nine, from where senior fullback Chad Montover, on his first carry of the game, cruised in for the score with 8:17 to go in the third quarter. Jacob found Austin Tribble for the two-point conversion and Glenwood led 21-0.
The Demon defense, with Willy Pelland breaking up a 3rd-and-two pass attempt, forced a fourth-down pooch punt by Basalt QB Scotty Hoffman and seven plays later Tribble took a hitch pass 15 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown. Weeden, replacing the stellar Clay Hawkins as place kicker, continued his perfect night, booting the point after through for a 28-0 lead with 4:04 to play in the period.
Basalt again went three-and-out, but Jacob was intercepted by Zach Mobilian, who returned the ball 21 yards inside the Glenwood five yard line. No matter — Chris Ayala sacked Hoffman back to the 15 and as the fourth quarter began, Bertillo Garcia just missed a 32 yard field goal try, wide left.
Halsch was a one-man show on the ensuing possession, carrying all but seven yards of a 10-play, 80 yard, four first-down drive resulting in a 3-yard TD and a 35-0 Glenwood margin with 6:57 to play.
Hoffman got Basalt on the scoreboard on its next possession, completing a beautiful 48-yard scoring pass to Sam Morrison, but even the back-up defenders put a lid on the Longhorn offense after that, with TJ Stanley and Alberto Ramirez, along with starting nose guard Emanuel Cervantes sacking Hoffman.
For the game, Glenwood rushed for 302 yards on 44 carries, with Jacob completing 7-of-14 passes for 92 yards. The Longhorns were never able to mount much of a rushing game, gaining just 29 yards on 11 carries. With Glenwood's five sacks subtracted, Basalt netted minus-twelve on the ground. Hoffman was 5-of-15, passing for 96 yards, with Morrison hauling in 93 on 3 catches.
Glenwood will face a challenge next week, journeying to fifth-ranked Montrose to face the 4A Indians (2-0), who defeated the Demons 38-12 last season.