Number one no More: Glenwood Beats Basalt 21-14

Photo+Taken+by+Johnathan+Webster+

Photo Taken by Johnathan Webster

Jaymin Kanzer, Sports Editor

    11 seconds on the clock, ball on the one-yard line, third down, and a tie game. That is until the ball got into senior runningback Garret Dollahans hands. He rushed through the trenches like he was on Omaha beach, as he put the Demons ahead with 9 seconds left on the clock. 

    The Glenwood Springs Demons varsity football team faced the Basalt Longhorns last week in the biggest matchup of the spring season thus far. The two teams were undefeated prior to the game, and the Longhorns were ranked number one in the 3A west division, two above where Glenwood sat. This matchup hadn’t seen the field in nearly a decade, and it was Basalt’s senior night. Freshman quarterback, Joaquin Sandoval, was making his second high school start, this time against one of the top teams in the state. The stakes were set very high, to say the least. 

    “Well I knew that we were playing one of the best teams in the state, so I had to stay calm to show the team I am willing to go into a big game like this without any pressure,” Sandoval said. 

    A sloppy first half only led to seven points on the scoreboard, all in Basalt’s favor. The only points coming from a 60-yard pick-six late in the first quarter. The throw coming from Sandoval tipped off a Glenwood receiver’s hands and into the hands of a Basalt defender, who took it the distance and put the Longhorns up 7-0. 

    After the break, the Demons finally managed to get a drive going, reaching the 50-yard line before handing it to junior runningback Blake Nieslanik, who slid through the line, untouched, and then took it the distance to knot the game at seven. Glenwood’s makeshift student section erupted. The 80 or so students that made the drive down to Basalt outcheered the entire Basalt crowd and fueled the Demon’s fire. 

    “We haven’t felt true support like that in a long time and it really got our defense going to make some big stops. It also fueled our offense to chug down the field and be able to finish the drives.” Senior captain Wheatly Nieslanik said. 

    The Longhorns weren’t able to get much done on offense through most of the game, relying heavily on their defense. They managed to get good field position because of a muffed punt halfway through the third quarter, but the Demons defense held strong and stopped them on the goal line. The Demons weren’t able to do anything with their following possession, giving Basalt the ball back with around five minutes left in the third. The Longhorns finally got in the endzone with not much time remaining in the third quarter, on a quarterback sneak up the middle. 

    That’s when the Demons and the crowd came to life. As the Demons offense ran onto the field with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, down seven points. It sounded like a jet engine was taking off. The Demons stayed on the ground for most of the game, after that mishap pick-six in the first quarter. Sandoval taking the snap and handing it to either Dollahan or Blake Nieslanik resulted in a first down nearly every time. Prompting “Move the chains” chants from the sideline. The Demons marched down to the 13-yard line and faced a third and 10. That’s when head coach Pat Engle called one of nine pass plays the Demons ran the entire game. Sandoval took the snap and rolled out to the right. He nearly fumbled the ball, managed to regain control of the ball, then threw an absolute dime to a covered Wheatly Nieslanik in the back of the endzone. The roar of the crowd could have been heard back in Glenwood, and it continued until after the Demons kicked the ball back to the Longhorns, the score tied at 14. 

    “Coach gave me the play, and I knew I had to execute. I rolled out and just lost control of the ball, luckily I was able to gain control of it again and I knew Wheats was going to come down with it.” Sandoval said. 

    The momentum was 99% in the Demon’s favor, and they received that last 1% as they received the punt from the Longhorns. Two minutes left on the clock, and the Demons were 60 yards away from the endzone. Not for long, said Dollahan, probably. He walked down the field like the Longhorns defense wasn’t even on the field. The Demons student section getting louder every yard he picked up. Blake Nieslanik almost played the hero, getting the ball around the 15-yard line and breaking through to the second level, before getting pulled down on the one-yard line and causing a false explosion from the Glenwood crowd. A rush from Dollahan failed on first down, then a forced pass attempt to Nieslanik brought up third and goal from the one-yard line. 11 seconds on the clock. Well, you know how it goes from here. Dollahan broke through the line and into the endzone for the game-winning touchdown. 

    “It was pretty dope to have everybody cheer us on and give us a lot of support. We couldn’t have won if it wasn’t for defense making crucial stops,” Dollahan said.

    “Number one no more,” Wheatley Nieslanik yelled to the student section after the win. 

    With this win, the Demons are the only remaining undefeated team in their division, and number one in the division as well as the RPI standings. After that wild game, it was only a preview of the playoff game between these two teams that is bound to take place. 

    The Demon’s next game is another biggie, against the number three ranked Rifle Bears. This game takes place at Stubler Memorial Field at Glenwood Springs High School tomorrow, Friday, April 16th. It is also the Demons senior night. The Demons and the Bears face off every year, most years for either team’s homecoming. This year is no different. The Demons haven’t beaten the Rifle Bears in 11 years of playing each other. This could be the year to change that. Rifle is 3-1 this season, their loss coming at the hands of the Longhorns, 38-7. 

    “Well, we are going into this game against a rival, it’s senior night and homecoming. So we have a lot of pressure coming into this game but I think if we go out there and play like we’ve been playing, we can control the game,” Sandoval said.

    You can catch the live broadcast on KMTS.com or 99.1.