Game just out of reach for Palisade

A surprised Jake Appling of Palisade High School reaches out to intercept a pass with one hand during the second half of Saturday’s game against D’Evelyn at Stocker Stadium.

Sometimes it is easy to forget about the important things in football.

As years past, numbers, statistics and even end results get lost in the memories of coaches and players.

So although Palisade lost a tough first-round game 30-28 to D’Evelyn on Kyle Petry’s 45-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced in, for Palisade coach John Arledge, that moment will not define the Bulldogs’ 2008 season.

“We will move on, and when I look back at the year, I will think of the lifelong friendships the kids made,” Arledge said. “It hurts and it’s disappointing to lose, but you look back you will think of the camaraderie.”

The Bulldogs had a fantastic year with a disappointing finish. Palisade began the year winning its first eight games before dropping two of its last three, losing to Glenwood Springs and D’Evelyn with a common theme in both games.

Palisade had five turnovers against the Jaguars compared to one by D’Evelyn. In late October, the Bulldogs had three against the Demons.

“In those two losses it was a combined eight to one in turnovers,” Arledge said. “Turnovers really hurt us at the end of the day.”

But even with the turnovers, Palisade had opportunities to win, and Saturday against D’Evelyn was no exception. The Bulldogs took a one-point lead late, but allowed the Jaguars to get into field goal position and were beaten by a field goal from a player who had missed his three previous attempts.

“Our mistakes cost us in the game,” Arledge said. “But I liked how our kids scrapped back and kept fighting, even though
it wasn’t their best effort, we still had a chance. D’Evelyn played as good of a game as it could have, and as far as entertainment purposes, it was great.”

With the loss, another group of seniors will be exiting the locker room for Palisade. The Bulldogs were led by the seniors this year including quarterback Jake Appling, running backs Aaron Wagler, Travis Fehlman and Zach Adair. Wagler,

Fehlman and Adair combined for over 1,800 yards. Linebacker Jacob Edminston and tight end Matt Young, who had 154 yards receiving and three total touchdowns Saturday, also are gone in a senior class of 12.

“They were great,” Arledge said. “It was a good group academically, and we could have as many as seven playing college. I am going to miss them at practice and coming into my office and telling me stupid things. That is the relationship I get as a coach as I am going to miss them as people and being around them every day. They are wonderful kids that I got to see work hard for a common goal.”

Arledge added he hopes the players take away the important lessons he tried to get across to them.

“Nowadays there is such a sense of entitlement except for in football. You have to say we lost,” Arledge said. “And that is a lesson you have to teach a young man. There is no entitlement in football you have to put a lot of time and effort into it to get to that one goal.”

While Palisade’s season is over, there are still three teams on the Western Slope that are alive. No. 4 seed in the 4A playoffs Montrose has the only home game, hosting No. 5 seed Greeley West. At the 3A level, No. 1 seed Glenwood Springs travels to last year’s 3A champion Berthoud. Olathe is the final Western Slope team still playing and travel to Kent Denver. and the Pirates travel to Kent Denver.

All games will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


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