KMTS FOOTBALL: Wounded Demons Fall to Winless Pueblo Central

PUEBLO (9/30/17) – The Glenwood Demons’ football team was off to the best start since the championship year of 2008, winning its first three games before stumbling against Colorado Springs Harrison. In that game, junior running back Luke Gair left the game after being undercut and landing hard on the artificial turf.

Before losing 27-17 at 3A Pueblo Central this weekend, the Demons learned Gair, leading the team in rushing and touchdowns, was “out for the season,” with an injured back,coach Rocky Whitworth said. Glenwood not only had to replace Gair, but linemen Isaias Gonzalez and Zach Quint were also sidelined with injuries.

The impact on the offense in the loss to the previously winless Warriors (1-4) was significant. Miguel Herrera (11 carries, 81 yards, TD), AJ Crowley (11 and 70), and Gavin Olson (10 and 43, TD) combined for 197 yards and two touchdowns, but the reshuffled offensive line wasn’t as successful protecting Crowley and back-up QB Brady Steen, who were sacked five times for 45 yards in losses.

That pressure on the quarterback also yielded a first-possession turnover that set up Pueblo Central for a five-play, 32-yard scoring drive and a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game. Crowley and Olson divided up eleven carries in a 50-yard answering drive that followed a failed onside kick, with Olson scoring on fourth-and-goal from the three. Tyler Dietrich’s PAT tied the score with 5:02 left in the opening quarter.

The confidence gained by the Warriors from scoring first carried over as they ground out three first-downs in keeping the ball the rest of the quarter. However, two holding calls and an unsportsmanlike penalty killed the drive one minute into the second period.

Olson ran for a first-down to the Warrior 42, but Crowley was intercepted, and in an exchange of punts, the host team again had a short field after a return to the Demon 44. It was Glenwood’s turn to be flagged for an unsportsmanlike infraction to the eleven and Nico Martin did the rest, including running in the two-point conversion for a 15-7 lead, three minutes before halftime.
Steen was sacked on consecutive possessions by Damion Westhoff, leaving the Demons trailing by eight at intermission, and the Warriors returned the second-half kickoff 68 yards with Olson saving a TD at the 22.

Glenwood stopped Martin on a 4th-and-5 at the 17, but a facemask penalty retained Warrior possession, which was cashed in on Martin’s third touchdown, a five-yard reverse for a 21-7 lead with 8:51 left in the third.

Herrera, who’d carried just once in the first half, slipped tacklers for a 16 yard gain that keyed a 7-play, 60-yard drive ending in a 10-yard option pitch to Herrera at 6:09, drawing the Demons within seven.

Three consecutive defensive plays by Wyatt Ewer, Alex Rodriguez, and John Jensen got the ball back for the Demons, and the three-back replacement for Gair put together four first-downs to Pueblo’s fourteen. Two fumbles and a procedure call forced Glenwood to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Dietrich, closing within 21-17 with 9:47 left in the game.

Two critical penalties on the defense, including offsides on 4th-and-five, helped Pueblo sustain an 18 play, 7:31 minute drive, ending in a one-yard TD plunge by Aureious Drew that insured the Warriors’ first win in five games this season.

Down by ten points with 2:16 to go, Steen completed passes to Olson and Ewer, but Westhoff got his fourth sack and Martin’s interception ended the game.

Glenwood, now 3-2 after back-to-back losses, will host Palisade, also 3-2 after a 36-33 win at 2A Delta, in the Western Slope League opener for both teams.