GLENWOOD SPRINGS(10/17/14) – In his senior year, Luke Prosence exchanged the rugby scrum for the Glenwood Springs football huddle. But the straight-ahead running style that resulted in four touchdowns and 244 yards in a 29-7 short-handed victory over Summit “comes from rugby,” Prosence said.
Without two of his regular backfield mates on offense, Prosence carried the ball 25 times (more than double any previous game) in keeping the Demons (5-3, 4-1) tied atop the Western Slope standings, and as he said afterwards, “playing for the championship” next Friday when Rifle (7-1, 4-1) comes to Glenwood.
Sophomore Jake Townsley had to step in at quarterback for Dante Sparaco against the Tigers, and Evrett Marr was only able to hold for kicks and act as a decoy on offense due to a shoulder injury sustained in last week’s loss to Delta. So it was essentially Prosence right, left, and up the middle, however the wide runs weren’t nearly as productive as the blasts off tackle and up the gut, both hands wrapped firmly around the ball, that got better and longer as the game went on, evidenced by the game’s first score from two yards out with 29 seconds left in the opening quarter, followed by an 18-yard TD four minutes into the second, which, added to Robert Hiles’ 27 yard field goal, gave the Demons a 16-0 halftime lead.
Four times in that half, Prosence was asked to run wide, resulting in a net loss of 4 yards. “I really like going up the middle, hitting people in the nose,” he said earnestly after exceeding his season touchdown total by one, and added that his two-handed grasping style “comes from rugby. Nobody’s gonna get to that ball.”
In the second half, Prosence wasn’t asked to run laterally any more. Following a fourth-quarter fumble recovery by Austin Gonsalves at the Summit 31, Prosence went the distance on the next play for a 22-0 lead with 10:23 to play. Summit’s sophomore QB, Luke Notaro, got the Tigers on the scoreboard with a 19-yard TD pass to Tony Finley at the 4:30 mark, but the subsequent onside kick went out of bounds. After a 5-yard Summit penalty and an incomplete pass, Prosence capped the scoring with a 60-yard, tackle-busting run.
But the 5-11, 205-pound Prosence, who returned to football from the rugby field for his final year in red-and-white, wasn’t a one-man show, despite the evidence on the scoreboard. Before the game, coach Rocky Whitworth pointed out the danger posed by Summit, despite operating without injured senior quarterback Luke Egging, and six straight losses after the Tigers’ season-opening win: “They’ve got skill, speed, can score, and outweigh us – which is pretty normal this year. Our defense has to give us a chance to get used to our new quarterback.”
Which is exactly what Tristan Harris, Chase Nieslanik, Sam Carmer, Cristian Gonzalez, and company did, holding Summit to nine yards on the ground and 1-of-8 for 7 yards passing in the first half with a tipped pass by Nieslanik resulting in Tim Batchelder’s interception. The Tigers surprized the Demons, recovering an opening game onside kick but Robert Hiles and mates stopped a fourth-down pass at the Demon 38-yard line. For the game, Glenwood’s D forced nine Summit punts.
Despite throwing an early second-quarter interception – that was countered by Harris recovering a fumble four plays later – Townsley managed the game well, completing 4-of-10 first-half passes and running for 45 yards and 3 first-downs in 11 carries for the game. Easton Gaddis looked very Evrett Marr-like in breaking a 43-yard reverse following the Harris recovery to set up Glenwood’s 2nd quarter touchdown. Zach Lundin replaced Marr on punt returns and his 17-yard scamper gave the Demons good field position on the way to Hiles’ fifth field goal in six attempts this year for a 16-0 lead three minutes before haltime. Prosence also wanted to make sure his blockers received credit saying, “With Marr and Dante out you’ve got to give it to the O-line,” and also emphasized that next week’s showdown was on the Demons’ minds: “We were definitely thinking about Rifle, but had to focus on this game.”
Making the rivalry bout with the Bears extra special is Eagle Valley’s (6-2, 3-2) 18-7 win over Delta (6-2, 3-2) dropped the Panthers out of the four-way, first-place tie. That means if Glenwood can defeat Rifle, the Demons hold the tie-breaker because of their earlier 17-10 win over Palisade (6-2, 4-1). The Bears were handed their first loss of the season last weekend by the Bulldogs, setting up this Friday’s showdown. The Demons haven’t defeated Rifle since a 20-19 win in 2010 on the way to an eventual 3A state championship loss to Elizabeth.