Penalty swings momentum to Demons, dooms Delta

DELTA — A 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty negated a Delta interception and shifted the momentum to Glenwood Springs, which went on a 28-0 run in the second half to beat the Panthers 41-20 in 3A Western Slope Conference football Friday.

The penalty occurred early in the third quarter. Demons quarterback Travis Lundin threw an interception, but the referees said he was hit late after releasing the pass, and they penalized Delta.

Panthers coach Ben Johnson saw it differently. He said the hit on Lundin was made after the interception and constituted a block.

“After the interception you should be able to block,” Johnson said. “It was the biggest turning point of the game for us, and it was bad.”

Delta squeaked through its first two conference games, topping Eagle Valley 25-21 and Moffat County 21-14. Moffat runs a spread scheme similar to Glenwood, according to Johnson, that utilizes play action, draws, and built-in-run options. Glenwood’s variation focuses on receivers in flats, shovel passes and swing passes to backs.

Despite a young and struggling secondary, Delta’s red-zone defense had been strong entering the game, and the first half followed that script.

Against Glenwood, the Panthers surrendered two first-half drives in which Lundin picked apart the secondary. Lundin completed five passes in a row for 45 yards on the first drive and six consecutive passes for 64 yards on the ensuing one. But the Demons managed just one first-half score. Instead of throwing, Lundin ran 16 yards, shedding six tackles, to score with 40 seconds left.

Delta’s tackling woes carried into the second half when Henry Hill broke a tackle and was sprung for an 80-yard kickoff return to give Glenwood its first lead of the game.

“They run it very well. They’re very well-coached,” Johnson said. “Their back ran well, we couldn’t tackle him, and he popped. The kickoff to start the second half was tough. It was just a disappointing 24 minutes.”

The Glenwood ground game sealed the victory with runs by Hill of 50 and 58 yards for touchdowns. On one run Hill broke five tackles for a 29-yard gain.

After falling to Glenwood, Delta is no longer undefeated in 3A Western Slope Conference play. That leaves just Rifle and Palisade at the top of the conference.

For Johnson, upcoming matchups against Montezuma-Cortez and Battle Mountain offer a chance to shore up defensive problems.

“We’ve got two games back to back where we can do a little improving before we play Palisade,” Johnson said. “In those three weeks we have to knock off one of the three.”

Palisade 28, Durango 13

Palisade rushed for 354 yards and passed for 125 as it turned back the Demons in Durango.

The Bulldogs (5-0) led 21-7 at the half.


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