Glenwood Springs wins season finale, but misses Class 3A state football playoffs
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The Glenwood Springs High School football team held up its end of the bargain on Friday night in the home finale at Stubler Memorial Field. But it wasn’t quite enough come Sunday’s Class 3A state playoffs bracket announcement.
Glenwood Springs was on the outside looking in on the playoff picture coming into the final game of the season. The Demons were 19th in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s ratings percentage index (RPI) and in MaxPreps’ state rankings before their 48-14 trouncing of Battle Mountain to close their schedule.
Those metrics, along with the end-of-season coaches poll, were used to determine which 16 teams will vie for the state title.
That 16th and final spot went to 7-3 Thomas Jefferson, whose final RPI ranking of No. 18 was one better than Glenwood’s No. 19. The two swapped positions in the final MaxPreps poll Sunday, but coaches gave the nod to TJ.
In any case, the conclusion to the fall 2021 season was a satisfactory one for Demons head coach Pat Engle.
His team, finally healthy, showed what it was capable of. A dynamic rushing offense anchored by sophomore quarterback Joaquin Sandoval and senior backs Ray Rosenmerkel and Blake Nieslanik with just enough passing kept the Huskies on their heels all game.
A suppressive defense contained the running game enough and forced rushed passes consistently.
Battle Mountain found the scoreboard first, marching down the field for an eventual rushing touchdown in the first quarter. But the Demons snatched momentum back by blocking the point after attempt.
They scored the next 42 points in the game.
“This is the team I know I’ve had,” Engle said. “That’s what’s been difficult when we’ve come back through some rough patches.”
Injuries and other factors derailed portions of the Demons’ season. After starting 3-0, they lost four straight. They finished their last three games 2-1 after the senior running back/safety Nieslanik returned from injury. Against Battle Mountain, he recorded an interception, two receiving touchdowns and well over 50 yards rushing.
Rosenmerkel, decided the game MVP by his teammates, scored two touchdowns, had a sack and went 6-for-7 on point-after attempts.
Junior Marcos Aragon also scored a touchdown in the game.
Glenwood Springs concludes at 5-5 overall and with a 1-2 record in league play.
“I’m going to cherish these last four years and I’m going to appreciate every second,” Nieslanik said.
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Cory Parker once roamed the halls of Aspen High School as a student, graduating in 2008 as one of the best basketball players in program history. For the past five seasons, since returning home, he’s helped rebuild AHS basketball as an assistant coach alongside Alex Schrempf.