GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9/17/15) – In the Bill Murray classic, “What About Bob,” the protagonist is urged to take “Baby steps,” and Glenwood’s football team, though falling to 0-3 in a 43-22 pre-season loss to defending 2A state champion Brush, continued to move in the right direction as the Western Slope League season approaches.
In week one, the Demons were shut out 17-0 by Eire and couldn’t manage a combined 200 net yards of offense, though the defense played well until wearing down in the second half. At Conifer Glenwood’s young team got on the scoreboard first and regained the advantage early in the second half before again succumbing to a second-half ground surge, 27-12.
Against the 2A powerhouse Beetdiggers (2-1), backed up against his own end zone, quarterback Jake Townsley found Easton Gaddis beyond the secondary on the first play of the second quarter, trailing 7-6. Gaddis juked a defender at the 45 and outran all pursuers to complete a 94-yard touchdown. Townsley ran in the extra point for a 14-7 lead just 17 seconds into the period.
The Demons found themselves on their own six yard line because Gaddis recovered a fumble as Brush senior running back Clay Shaver (more on him later) was attempting to add to a 7-6 first quarter lead.
An interception on the first series after kickoff set Brush up at the Demon 30, and one play later Shaver put the Beetdiggers up 7-0 with a 27 yard TD run. However, Townsley recovered from that early miscue with a 34 yard pass completion to freshman Luke Gair following a touchback to move into Brush territory. Townsley and Matt Osier took turns moving the ball down to the Diggers eight, where the junior QB skirted left end for the touchdown with 7 minutes to play in the opening quarter. Sophomore placekicker Luis Mariano’s attempt was high and far enough, but wide left, leaving Glenwood down a point.
After the electrifying start to the second period, Brush turned a broken play into a 54 yard TD sprint by Shaver. With quarterback Arnaldo Garcia in the shotgun, the snap went through his hands, right to tailback Shaver who outran everyone to the left sideline and regained the lead 15-14 by also converting the two-point run with 9:58 left in the half.
The Demons put together three first downs following the kickoff and were inside the Brush 30 when Townsley was stripped of the ball and the Diggers recovered. On 3rd-and-7, alternate quarterback Trent Mount pitched the ball to Garcia, who reversed it to Shaver for another long TD run of 58 yards and a 22-14 lead.
Glenwood began a game-long flirtation with yellow hankies that hampered its next drive but Gaddis intercepted Mount with two minutes left. Townsley completed his next six passes but the Demons ran out of time at the Brush 30 to trail by 8 at intermission.
After Garcia returned the second-half kickoff 13 yards to the 25, Brush drove 75 yards in 14 plays – all but one on the ground, using 6:43 with Aaron Williams going in from 10 yards out for a 29-14 lead with 5:17 to go. The touchdown was the longest play of the drive with the pivotal moment coming on a 4th-and-3, seven yard gain on a shovel pass from Garcia to Shaver to the Demon 26.
With just over a minute left in the quarter, a bad snap to Williams on a punt attempt resulted in a 12-yard loss and Glenwood taking over at the Brush eight yard line. In one play, Gaddis skipped up the middle for the touchdown, then ran in the conversion to draw the Demons with seven, 29-22 with 1:07 to play. It took one play for Shaver to run the lead back to 14. He returned the kickoff 27 yards to the 42, then outran the defense to the right sideline and 58 yards for the score with 46 seconds left in the quarter.
Following the kickoff, Townsley was intercepted by – who else? Shaver at the Demon 17, and though the defense forced a 4th and two and third and goal at the one, after seven plays Mount snuck in for the final score with 8:40 remaining in the game.
Townsley was 10-of-12 for 211 yards passing in the first half, but held to 2-of-4 after halftime and finished with 231 yards. He also rushed for 92 yards in 17 attempts. Osier was productive with 52 yards in eight carries. Gaddis had five receptions for 144 yards. Gair caught 4 for 65.
Overall the Demons netted 378 total yards and 14 first downs, far surpassing their totals in the first two losses. However, in addition to three turnovers, the Demons were flagged eleven times for 98 yards in penalties.
Shaver gained 278 yards in 23 carries to go with his 4 touchdowns in leading the Brush ground attack to 387 yards.
The Demons (0-3) will host Grand Junction Central (2-1) Friday in their WSL opener, hoping to keep taking those positive steps.