GYPSUM (10/9/15) — As the Beatles crooned before Sgt. Pepper brought the band to play: “Closer! Do you want to know a secret?” Before this gauntlet of a football season comes to a close, the Glenwood Springs Demons are going to upset someone. It almost happened at Eagle Valley’s homecoming Friday, but the Devils prevailed 17-14 when the visitors’ tying field goal attempt sailed high and far enough, but wide right with just under a minute to play.
Senior captain Matt Osier, who has stepped into the breech when others have fallen or failed, tried his first-ever varsity field goal from 34 yards away and just missed sending the teams into overtime after a brilliant 3rd-and-19 catch and run between Jake Townsley and Easton Gaddis netted 72 yards to keep hope alive with just over two minutes remaining in a tenacious struggle between the winless Demons (0-5) and the once-beaten Devils (5-1).
The hook-up nearly brought Glenwood its first victory as Gaddis caught Townsley’s pass over the middle, outran a couple of defenders, slowed down at the Devil 45 to make another miss, and was finally dragged down at the 17. Nine yards on a Townsley keeper brought up 2nd-and-one at the 8, but Gaddis was thrown for a yard loss, and a holding penalty, the Demons’ second on their desperation drive, returned them to the 17. A lob to the end-zone corner was broken up by Eagle’s Jay Neal, bringing up 4th down and Osier’s gallant try for the tie.
Townsley, who had missed the previous two games after a concussion versus Brush, had trouble connecting with his receivers in the first half, but acclimated instantly to the running game. After a seven-minute drive on the ground by Eagle ended with an incompletion in the end zone, Townsley overcame the Demons’ first holding call of the night to slip through a hole created by Jake’s brother Matt and Gerry Viveros on the right side and was quickly into the secondary. A hesitation move near midfield and a block by Gaddis at the Devil 40 freed Townsley to complete the 88 yard sprint. Osier’s first-ever PAT attempt cleared the bar for a 7-0 lead with 4:17 left in the first quarter. It was also the first successful point-after kick this season for Glenwood.
Eagle, using six different backs, began another long march, grinding up the final four minutes of the period. After chewing up 62 yards on 14 running plays, which included quarterback Garrett Martin twice converting on 4th-and-one, Martin surprised Glenwood with an 11-yard TD toss to Bryce Muehlethaler. Aldo Palacios boomed the extra point through to knot the score at 7 with 10:09 remaining in the half.
Glenwood, which was flagged only twice through the first three quarters, lost an inviting opportunity when a five-yard penalty during Osier’s punt negated a fumble recovery inside the Eagle Valley five-yard line. The subsequent punt resulted in a fair catch at the Devil 14, and from there Martin alternated Neal and scatback Kyle Williams with a flat pass to Wyatt Borah that netted 35 yards down the sideline. With 8 seconds left, Palacious easily converted a 34-yard field goal for a 10-7 halftime Devil advantage.
Eagle Valley again went to ground-chuck after taking the second half kickoff (from Osier) to their 41. Williams, Martin, and Neal carried eight times with Neal capping the 4-minute-plus drive from 8 yards out at the 7:36 mark for a 17-7 lead.
Townsley answered by leading a 14-play, 78-yard response along with Osier and Gaddis that used 6:53, and threw his only pass of the drive to Osier out of the backfield for a 5 yard score . The PAT left the Demons down 17-14 with 43 seconds left in the quarter.
Eagle began yet another foray that saw Martin twice sneak up the middle for first downs on 4th and one and consume the first 8 minutes of the final period. But a couple of holding penalties and a touchdown catch by Williams that was ruled out of the end zone forced Palacios to try a 40-yard field goal with 3:22 left. The crowd, and everyone but the officials, thought it was good, but by some trick-of-the-mist, evidently was not, giving Glenwood its final chance beginning at the 20.
Despite the time devoured by their long drives, the Devils totalled only 26 yards more than Glenwood’s 173 rushing, despite running 23 more times. Eagle Valley did pick up 16 first downs, six coming on 4th-down sneaks from Martin. Townsley, who ran for 122 yards on 8 carries and completed 3-of-7 passes for 84 yards, nearly conducted the upset, but it was not to be. The next opportunity will be against the first place Delta Panthers (5-1) in Glenwood on Friday.