Roaring Fork drops varsity program; players find new home at Glenwood

Taylor Cramer
For The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs High School football coach Hunter Holmes conducts practice on Thursday following the merger of the Glenwood and Roaring Fork varsity football programs.
Taylor Cramer/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

In a storyline ripped straight from the popular TV show “Friday Night Lights,” Roaring Fork High School this week made the heart-rending decision to suspend its varsity football program, paving the way for six of its brightest stars to don the colors of Glenwood Springs High School.

Roaring Fork, however, will continue to compete in junior varsity. Glenwood Coach Hunter Holmes saw the silver lining in this unforeseen twist.

“It’s not very often that you get to add six players to your team who are able to make an immediate impact,” he said. “To add these extremely talented football players truly is a blessing.”

The timing couldn’t be more impeccable for the Glenwood team, especially after its challenging game against Aspen, a 36-28 win last Friday on the AHS turf.

“Last week against Aspen, we started dropping like flies out there,” he recounted. “To be able to have these reinforcements, who are not just backups but really good football players, is going to benefit our program in a lot of ways.”

The ensemble cast joining Glenwood is a mix of experience and budding talent: junior Hunter Noll, sophomore Zack Bollock, senior stalwarts Max Bollock, Nick Smith and Brooks Chapman, and junior Balaram Koss.

Noll likened the shift to an emotional rollercoaster ride. 

“There were definitely a lot of emotions when the news came out,” he said. “Especially for the coaches and players who have been here for so many years and helped build this program, it was an emotional day for us.”

The choice before the Roaring Fork players looking to continue their varsity careers was to either align with Glenwood Springs or join their age-old rivals at Basalt.

For Eric Bollock, the transition holds a weight of sentiment. The former head coach of Roaring Fork, who is now the wide receivers coach at Glenwood Springs, found the switch deeply personal. 

“I officially resigned from Roaring Fork Thursday, and I have been asked to be the wide receivers coach at Glenwood,” he revealed. “It was an extremely tough decision to make because I have been working to rebuild this program for the past 10 years.”

Roaring Fork High School senior Max Bollock looks to throw during a 7-on-7 football session this summer.
Taylor Cramer/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Yet, in this merger, Bollock sees a bigger picture. 

“The Roaring Fork program isn’t done,” he said. “We have extremely strong numbers at the lower levels this year. This isn’t a major setback for this program; I just felt this was the best decision for this season.” 

Roaring Fork football only returned to varsity play during the 2021 COVID season after having to rebuild, essentially from scratch. The Rams won a game over Olathe in October 2021, their first win in five years at that time.

For Noll, the initial practices with Glenwood felt like a smooth transition. 

“It has been really good so far,” he said. “I have played with Joaquin (Sandoval) for a long time, so it hasn’t been hard to be able to click.” 

But he also acknowledged a shift in atmosphere. 

“There is a culture in Glenwood that feels a lot different than Roaring Fork,” he said. “It feels like it matters more here.”

While the question remains whether Max Bollock, formerly Roaring Fork’s lead quarterback, or Glenwood’s Sandoval is selected for the primary quarterback spot, the team’s spirit remains united.

“We are a merged team now, so let’s tackle this thing together,” Coach Bollock said. “With the staff and the team that this situation has created, I think we have the chance to be a great and dominant team.”

Glenwood Springs junior running back Mason Markovich summed up the squad’s sentiment: “Our expectation this season has been to really succeed in the playoffs,” he said. “Adding this talent only helps us exceed the expectations we already had for ourselves.”

Glenwood Springs is set to host Grand Junction at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stubler Memorial Field. Also on Friday, Aspen heads to Gunnison, and Basalt is hosting Eagle Valley in its home opener.


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