GLENWOOD SPRINGS (10/21/16) – “I saw the high snap, the ball in the air, timed it right and just took off,” Glenwood’s Easton Gaddis said of his 97-yard fumble recovery touchdown run that drained the drama out of what had been a close contest and led to a 39-15 Demon victory over Summit.
The Tigers (2-6, 0-3 WSL) didn’t play like a team that has now lost six in a row, particularly when they took a 15-14 lead early in the third quarter on a 70-yard catch and run touchdown pass from Jacob Gillum to Vale Hildebrand.
With less than two minutes left in the game, three straight Gillum-to-Hildebrand completions had moved Summit to a first-and-goal at the Demon three yard line, but the fumble recovery by Gaddis blew up the threat with with 1:33 to play. Then Gaddis poured salt in the wound again after Gillum passed the Tigers inside the Demon 30 by intercepting a last-second attempt at the two and again going the distance, stiff-arming one tackler and high-stepping out of the clutches of another for a 98-yard touchdown return as the game ended.
That made five TD’s in the game for the senior running back, giving him 13 for the season. Gaddis missed by two yards of registering his fifth straight 100-yard game, getting 98 on 20 tries. Townsley was 8-of-16 passing for 124 yards and rushed for a career-high 181 yards in 15 attempts. Despite rolling to 20 first downs and totaling 403 yards, at no time until Gaddis’s double electric jolts, were the Demons able to pull away from Summit.
Glenwood took the opening possession all the way to the Tigers’ one-yard-line but four plays netted no yards. The defense forced a rugby-style punt three plays later that died at the Tiger 42. Townsley’s hard-count earned a first down to the 30 on 3rd-and-4, then Gaddis moved the chains twice before running in a 5-yard TD for a 7-0 lead with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
A pivotal play occurred on the first snap of the second period. John Jensen intercepted Gillum and returned the ball nearly 40 yards, but Glenwood was flagged for roughing the passer. The penalty gave Summit a first down at the Demon 32 instead of Glenwood’s ball inside the Tiger 30.
Alfonso Vasquez ripped off a 16 yard gain, topping Summit’s ground total to that point, then scored from the two moments later. David Ze Sanchez, who would boot a field goal from 27 just before halftime, was wide right on the extra point, leaving Glenwood up 7-6 with 9:05 on the clock.
Glenwood fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Summit the ball at the Demon 25, but three consecutive holding calls on the Tigers moved them back to their own 37 and they eventually had to punt.
Townsely hooked up with Juan Felan for 14 to start an 8-play, 77-yard drive that saw the Demon QB and Gaddis add first-down runs with Townsely going in from the 4 with 3:19 to go for a 14-6 lead. Hildebrand broke an end-around for 40 yards to the 12 and Vasquez ripped off 10 yards for first-and-goal at the two, but a big hit by Stephen Romero on Vasquez and Gaddis broke up an end zone pass to Hildebrand, forcing the Sancez field goal.
After Hildebrand’s TD reception put the Tigers ahead just 1:40 after the intermission, Glenwood fumbled the kickoff, and Summit recovered for the second time in the game at the Demon 26. This time the defense came up big, the key play being a big hit by Erwin Rodriguez and Gaddis to stop Vasquez for a loss of two, on 2nd-and-2, then a fumble forced a 40-yard field goal try by Sanchez which was short.
Townsley took command at the 20 and drove Glenwood 80 yards in 8 plays. Again, a pass completion, this time 15 yards to Gavin Olson, began the drive with a 38-yard run by Townsley leading to a 7-yard TD by Gaddis to regain the lead, 20-15 with 4:58 to go in the third.
Summit converted three first-downs in keeping the ball the rest of the quarter and picked up another to get inside the Demon 20, but Felan intercepted a 4th-down pass with 8:46 to go. Glenwood put together another long drive, going 75 yards in 12 plays, running 5:18 off the clock before Gaddis scored from the one with 3:28 remaining. Townsley overcame a holding call with a 14 yard pass to Luis Mariano, and Gaddis and Townsley each broke free for 15 yard runs, but the key play again was a third-and-four hard count that drew encroachment by Summit.
Summit’s two-minute drive to set up an onside try to win the game was blown-up by Gaddis’s full-field sprints, so Glenwood (4-4) stands 2-1 in league play as they travel to co-leader Rifle next week.