GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9/14/18) – “Let’s hear the Fight Song,” Glenwood Springs coach Pat Engle told his players at practice on Monday, and by the end of Friday’s 41-20 win over Conifer, the Demon football team was on their collective knees serenading the fans in the stands, a tradition after every home victory.
Wyatt Ewer’s 95-yard return of the opening kickoff set the tone for the evening, getting Glenwood off to a 7-0 start just fifteen seconds into the contest. “Everybody blocking for me gave me one person to beat,” Ewer explained when asked what he saw upfield on his return. “The kicker (to beat) is the best thing I can see.”
Quarterback Max Lemkau’s first varsity touchdown, a 36-yard run following Jack Richard’s fumble recovery nine minutes later gave the Demons a 14-0 first quarter advantage, followed by Gavin Olson’s 11-yard score at the 10:30 mark of the second quarter.
That lead held until Lobo quarterback JR Hart and Lemkau exchanged interceptions surrounding the two-minute mark, and on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard-line, Rocco Fillweber got Conifer on the board with 1:21 to go until halftime. The extra point kick was low, leaving the home team up 21-6 at intermission.
The Demon defense, which yielded back-to-back 300-yard passing outputs in the season’s first two losses, forced the Lobos’ fourth punt (to go with Ewer’s diving interception and Richards’ recovery) in their first seven possessions. A 44-yard swing pass from Lemkau to Joshua Sanchez moved the ball inside the Conifer 20. Luke Gair capped the 65-yard, 4-minute drive with a 1-yard TD run. Sebastian Torres’ PAT gave Glenwood its largest lead of the night, 28-6 with 6:20 to go in the third.
Hart, who began the game 0-for-6 passing, connected with favorite receiver Sam Horneck for 14 yards to begin the Lobos’ response, which included a 41-yard screen pass to Sam Dunivan to the Demon 14. The Glenwood D appeared to have halted the drive when Sam Fitzwilliams sacked Hart on second down, and Ethan deMoraes and Miguel Herrera dropped the Lobo QB on third-and-18. However, the Demons were flagged for defensive holding, so instead of 4th-and 25 near the 30, Conifer had a first down at the Demon 11. Fillweber scored on the next play, bringing the Lobos within 28-13 with 3:01 left in the quarter.
Ewer took matters (and the ball) in his own hands on the kickoff, nearly duplicating his game-opening feat. Once again, with only kicker Graham Dickson to beat, Ewer elected not to juke him, but ran over the 120-pound, 5-8 junior. The pancake collision, however, allowed Dickson’s pursuing teammates to drag Ewer down at the 20 after a 60-yard return. Olson, fighting illness that nearly caused him to miss the game, covered the remaining distance with his longest jaunt of the night, boosting the Demon lead to 34-13.
After his early struggles, Hart completed six straight passes, which helped open up the Lobos’ ground game, held to just 46 yards in the first half. Noah Wagner concluded a 72-yard drive, begun in the third quarter, with a 3-yard, 4th-down score, closing the gap to 34-20 just 22 seconds into the final period.
In the game’s most critical play, Conifer seemed to have recovered an onside kick when the Lobos’ Chad Gilman fell on Dickson’s squibber at their 49. However, the referees determined that the kick didn’t travel the necessary ten yards before the recovery, so Glenwood gained possession.
The Demons proceeded to clinch the outcome with five consecutive running plays, aided by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Conifer sideline, protesting the onsides ruling. Gair gained the final three yards, and Torres’ extra point, his fifth in six attempts, provided the last score of the game. The defeat was the first for Conifer (2-1) after opening the season 2-0.
Despite his illness, Olson led all rushers with 80 yards in 17 attempts, adding two TD’s, as did Gair, who ran for 75 yards in 20 carries. Lemkau was 4-of-5 passing, for 78 yards, with junior Dylan Albright spelling him at QB in the second quarter and also completing 4-of-5, for 21 yards.
Next Friday the Demons (1-2) travel to Rifle (3-0) for a non-league match, as the undefeated Bears have moved down to class 2A. “It’s a rivalry game,” Engle stated. “Records do not matter.”