Glenwood takes down Berthoud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
BERTHOUD, Colo. ” In facing Berthoud, Glenwood Springs took a long gaze into the mirror on Saturday.
What the Demons saw looking back at them was a team that tortures defensive backs with its passing game the way they do, a team that puts up points in a hurry just as they do and a team that’s nearly impossible to keep down for the count. Again, just like the Demons.
Turns out, on Saturday at least, the Demons were the fairest of the two teams squaring off in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A football playoffs.
It took seven touchdowns and 582 yards of offense, but Glenwood managed to overcome Berthoud’s six TDs and 457 yards and outgun the host Spartans 50-39 to advance to the state semifinals against Mountain View.
“At times, it was very much (like looking in the mirror),” Demons head coach Rocky Whitworth said. “You can cover people. You can try to make things happen at the perimeter and they’ll run inside. They did a good job of running things we couldn’t take away. That’s the main thing with these types of offenses.”
Led by whip-armed quarterbacks, both offenses had a day for the ages on a cool, sunny autumn day in Berthoud.
Glenwood’s Dakota Stonehouse tossed for 358 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-28 passing, while the Spartans’ Jordan Major amassed 317 yards and two scores while completing 27 of 38 passes.
Each passer did damage with his legs as well, with Stonehouse grinding out 148 yards rushing and two TDs and Major matching that TD total while racking up 82 yards on the ground.
“It makes it difficult on the defense,” Whitworth said, singing Stonehouse’s praises and summing up the challenge of containing Major in one swoop. “You have to defend another running back almost ” one that can run and throw the ball. Consequently, we had a lot of offense in that game.”
While chants of “Defense!” didn’t seem to resonate with either side most of the afternoon, the Demon defense and special teams did produce two pivotal plays in the game’s waning moments.
Up 43-39 and kicking off midway through the fourth quarter, Aaron Zancanella delivered a jarring hit on Berthoud return man Kent Flynn, one that knocked the ball loose for a teammate to pounce on and one that paved the path to Glenwood’s seventh TD of the afternoon.
Three plays later, Stonehouse dumped a short pass off to running back Michael Hudson, who rumbled into the end zone to finish off a 16-yard connection.
Then came a goal-line stand to put the game away.
After driving 75 yards to the Demons’ 5-yard line for a first-and-goal opportunity, the Spartans hit a wall.
Gregory Glasser managed just a yard with a first-down carry and, on second down, Major hit Bryce Munoz with a dart in the back of the end zone, a dart Munoz hauled in with a dive. But that dive carried him over the end line.
Major missed on a third-down pass and then eyed the corner of the end zone with a run on fourth down. He dove into a swarming bunch of Demon defenders some three yards short of a TD.
“Throughout our entire season, we’ve been perfecting goal lines,” Glenwood linebacker Jordan Ciani said with a proud grin. “Whenever we get to the goal line, something just kicks in with us. When Keenan (Hartert) and Kevin (Screen) tackled the quarterback on the last play, we perfected what we wanted to perfect.”
With 3 minutes and 42 seconds left, the 12-0 Demons could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“We did, we did,” Ciani said with a chuckle. “It was a nice breath, too.”
Before that, the game was playing out much like an Arena Football League game or an NBA All-Star Game. Defense was virtually nowhere to be found.
Neither team punted until 1:19 remained in the third quarter and Berthoud’s Joel Maly finally got a chance at a boot. The Demons followed with the day’s only other punt on the next drive.
Beyond the quarterbacks’ big numbers, Hudson finished with 74 yards rushing and one TD on 14 totes for Glenwood. He added 52 yards receiving.
Screen caught eight balls for 164 yards receiving. Included in that ledger were TD receptions spanning 30 and 46 yards.
Connor Riley had five grabs for 64 yards receiving before leaving the game with a foot injury in the third quarter and Trey Fox hauled in a 37-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter that gave Glenwood the lead.
John Duncan had 10 catches for 116 yards and Danny McGinn had five receptions for 80 yards to pace Berthoud’s stable of solid receivers.
The Spartan defense did produce a pair of picks, including one that Jeffory Shields returned 95 yards for a TD early in the second quarter.
Josh Galvan had the Demons’ only pick.
Berthoud, the defending Class 3A state champion, ended its year at 9-3. Head coach Dan McGinn thought his team let one slip away on Saturday.
“We felt like we were wearing them out,” he said. “To their credit, they stood tall. In the first half, we felt like we’d wear them out a little bit, but they’re a good football team. Rocky does a good job with their kids. They’re a well-polished group.”
That well-polished group will face 11-1 Mountain View next Saturday with a trip to the state title game on the line. Kickoff is tentatively slated for 1 p.m.
But the Demons weren’t thinking about that in the euphoric moments tailing their quarterfinal victory. Rest and relaxation were at the forefront of at least one player’s mind.
“It feels great, but tomorrow’s going to be really sore,” Screen joked. “We’re just going to go home and have some fun with our friends.”
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